Duba Plains

Jul 6th, 2006, 09:45 AM
  #1  
johan_belgium
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Duba Plains

I don't know if someone else already posted this article:

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/pages/liv...urce=&ito=1490

Greetings,

Johan
 
Jul 6th, 2006, 03:24 PM
  #2  
 
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Johan: thanks for posting the article.

Duba Plains is sensational and it remains the best camp experience that I have had but the article seems to exagerate a lot of things that I don't believe to be true.

There is not currently a single recognized subspecies in all of sub-saharan Africa, every lion is considered to be of the same subspecies -- they are monotypic. The Duba lions have been isolated for a very short period of time and I don't really buy that even as I saw a male challenger who arrived with his brother from outside of Duba in January 2003. There were also loads of males, all progeny of the Duba Boys who were coming to maturity and must of emigrated out of the area so I don't believe they are trapped, lions can certainly come to and from the island. I would love to know what happened to all those males. There was a coalition of 4 Skimmer males (2 were peak 5 year olds who had been seen mating with Tsaro lionesses and 2 were about 3 and a half) and then the Tsaro pride had 5 4 year old males. I saw all 9 of them in a little showdown at the full herd of buffalo who were on Skimmer territory. There was a lot of speculation on what would happen with the Duba Boys getting on in age while these young came into their prime. But somehow the Duba Boys have maintained ownership of one pride and all their sons seem to have emigrated. I would imagine they have come to power somewhere but I have never seen any reports on them. The buffalo were not trapped with the Tsaro pride at that point either they wandered from Pantry, to Tsaro, to Skimmer areas.

When the Duba Boys pass on there will almost certainly be new genes that enter the pride again making it impossible for them to become a unique subspecies. The Duba Boys are genetic freaks staying around and breeding for so long with so many lionesses that there is definitely some over representation of their genes which in combination with eating mostly buffalo (they certainly love a warthog when they can get one) and their active hunting/swimming lifestyle probably accounts for them being bulked up. I think Africa's fittest lions would probably be more appropriate than suggesting a new subspecies and it is quite likely that the abnormal period of dominance by one gene pool is leading to some issues like the cub infantacide, much like breeding too hard for a specific trait or using steroids too much inbreeding is not healthy. There's the irony the fittest who begin to struggle with basic functions like breeding and raising their young.

If anyone knows what happened to the Skimmer or Tsaro males please chime in.
PredatorBiologist is offline  
Jul 6th, 2006, 04:41 PM
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I just want to chime in with regards to the Duba Boys and their offspring and breeding at Duba.

It seems HIGHLY unlikely to me that all the cubs born to the prides of Duba Plains in the era of the Duba Boys are actually their own progeny.

This area has seen plenty of nomadic lions over the last 10-12 years and there can hardly be any doubt that such males have taken any and every opportunity to mate with receptive females of these prides.

Nomadic males will not advertise their presence if they are not sure of themselves and the resident males cannot possibly control so many females and keep them from mating since they cannot be everywhere at once.

I have seen nomadic males mating many times in areas which have strong and unchallenged male coalitions.

In fact, 2 weeks ago at Vumbura, we watched a male which the guides had not seen before mating with one of the resident females. He was certainly not roaring or displaying any signs of wanting to be territorial, but he was certainly taking advantage of a receptive female, who seemed all too willing to accept his advances.

My point is, many of the lionesses at Duba, which some claim are without doubt the offspring of the Duba Boys, in all likelihood, are not related to them at all.

Additionally, the Duba Boys themselves have not been proven, to my knowledge, to be related in any way, also negating any chance of inbreeding resulting from one "brother" mating with the other's offspring.

Although there is certainly a possibility of inbreeding at Duba, I think that this subject has been given too much emphasis and that the risks are in fact not very real.

Any discussion of sub-species seems to me to be irrelevant.

James
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Jul 6th, 2006, 05:37 PM
  #4  
santharamhari
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Johan,

Thanks for the article

Pred,

I agree to your theory of the animals trapped in the island. The article is a bit dramatized, just, like the jeremy irons narration in the film. They don't mention other animal life at Duba. It's not just lions and buffalo.

What do you think of the statement, "Lionesses at Duba are the same size as teh male lions outside on the main land"?

Hari
 
Jul 6th, 2006, 08:52 PM
  #5  
johan_belgium
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Would be interesting to hear what Paul (manager at Duba) think of the documentary made by the Jouberts.

It seemed to me too like others already suggested that the article is not quite accurate (like many are these days).

Best regards,

Johan

 
Jul 6th, 2006, 09:10 PM
  #6  
 
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Not sure if anyone else has met Paul, but he had a tragedy week before last when his house at Duba burned down completely.

He made it out but lost all his things. I had just had dinner with him the night before up at Tubu.
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Jul 7th, 2006, 05:17 AM
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santharamhari
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That's awful. He's a very nice guy. Met him at Duba in 2004

Hari
 
Jul 7th, 2006, 05:32 AM
  #8  
johan_belgium
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James,

He e-mailed me the 26th of June to answer a question of mine. I'll see him early October at Duba. He is indeed a wonderful person.

It must be really a disaster for him. Luckily he survived.

Was there a bush fire at Duba or what else did happen?

Greetings,

Johan
 
Jul 7th, 2006, 09:32 AM
  #9  
 
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James: very good insight on the gene pool. Early on in their prime Duba Boys were mating with 4 different prides so there is no way they could keep all intruders out of such a large area and now with just Tsaro pride they are well past their prime -- as I noted the former Skimmer males were seen mating with Tsaro lionesses. Male coalitions are usually related so I figure the odds are the Duba Boys are litter mates -- is it thought that they are not? At any rate talk of subspecies is clearly silly and it just creates confusion when people start thinking s swamp lion is different than the lion they saw in the Linyanti. There are different cultures for prides throughout Africa which is fascinating but not unique to Duba only. Lots of casual travelers are still working on the difference between lion and tiger and think they both live in Africa.

Hari: I had an odd experience at Duba because I only saw 2 females and they were not on the move so I only saw them at rest. I would say they were more built/muscled than other lionesses I have seen but they certainly did not approach the size of males in other areas. I would say that is a gross exageration but others who have seen the females in recent years should give an opinion because I really did not have good observation of females.

I did see 13 different males of varying ages and they were all very fit and definitely on the large side. I think the most accurate description would be that the Duba lions tend to be very robust, thick and muscled and they probably are among the heaviest lions around. Ironically, the one male I saw that was not from a Duba pride but was intruding was the biggest lion I have ever seen and our guide Katembo agreed it was the largest he had seen as well. He and his brother were thought to have put a big beat down on one of the Duba Boys right before my arrival, the Duba had a large puncture mark in his haunches and inner thigh. We responded to big roaring by the Duba Boys and then saw them staring down this intruder from across a channel. The injured Duba Boy was looking a little unsure but when his partner made a rush he followed without hesitation and they both made leaps of about 15 feet to nearly clear the channel and the intruder was out of there. I then got my favorite pictures of them swimming back across followed by a long session of bonding with lots of head rubbing. The Duba Boys clearly have a very strong bond which is key to their long success. My thought is while these lions run on the big size it is nothing like the Kodiak Island brown bear subspecies that can be 3 times the weight of a continental U.S. subspecies of brown bear (the grizzly).

James Rowdon who used to be the manager had left to chronicle all of this in a book. He started all the research of tracking the prides and I was hoping the amazing story would find its way to the page but someone reported recently that James was back and guiding at Duba, I hope that means the book is coming to press soon.
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Jul 7th, 2006, 06:09 PM
  #10  
santharamhari
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Pred,

I once saw a documentary called,"Swimming lions" based in the delta.....i think it was the machaba pride. They said the lion prides in the delta were better built/muscled due to their need to swim from time to time when the floods arrive.

Hari
 
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