For the past 16 years, both professionals and amateurs alike have been following the incredible journey of Africa’s most deadly group of lions.
The notorious pride is made up of five brothers and one half-brother, all of which stand together in the brutal wilds of South Africa, taking on anyone who threatens them.
Their vicious behaviour and large pack mentality is so unusual, that both rangers and biologists have been closely studying their movements for years.
In shocking scenes, rangers have witnessed the pride show no fear in brutally massacring other lions, and even their young, in a relentless bid to take over new territory.
In just one year, these six lions killed over a hundred lions between them as they conquered an incredible amount of land.
Field Guide at the Ulusaba Game Reserve, Phillip Andrew, recalls the moment he first realised that these lions were an unusual group. He says, ‘I can remember the first time I saw them all together was when they came for water at a lake one morning. I had a feeling they were going for water so I positioned my vehicle around.’
‘And it turned out that they all came down to drink one by one. Five of them lined up together drinking.’
‘I just couldn’t believe it. It’s still one of my iconic photos.’
In 2006, this brutal group entered the Northern Sabi Sand region, which at the time was ruled by 4 dominant males – but not for long.
Although the existing males tried desperately to defend their land, they just weren’t strong enough to compete with the ruthless intruders.
Ryan Johnston, who worked as a field guide at the Nkorho Lodge between 2005 and 2012 explains, ‘usually when lions first come in they’re quite quiet. These guys came in like a wave and they didn’t care.’
‘They were loud, they roared, they marked territory from the get go.’
‘It only took them killing one of the four males and the three remaining males ran. They couldn’t stand their ground, they had no chance at all.’
Throughout this bloody takeover and countless other battles, a group of experts and photographers have been just steps behind, capturing just what it takes to be king of the beasts.
To find out more about this fascinating pride, catch Lions of Sabi Sand: Brothers in Blood on Discovery and watch the video above to see them in action.