What happened to the lions from Dynasties?

By Lucy Jones

SPOILER ALERT: This is what happened to the Marsh pride lions after the cameras stopped rolling.

Soon after filming for Dynasties on the Masai Mara ended in November 2016, there was a twist in the Marsh Pride story.

Charm the lioness with her daughter Yaya
The bond between Charm and her daughter Yaya was always incredibly strong. © Simon Blakeney | BBC NHU 2018
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A group of six males and five lionesses arrived from the surrounding area (including two of Sienna’s daughters whom Charm had helped to raise). They quickly took over a portion of the original Marsh Pride territory. To avoid conflict, Charm and her pride moved further to the north, into an adjoining reserve. Although Charm had already lost her small cubs, she soon gave birth to a new litter of two, and Yaya had three of her own.

However, the area where the pride have moved to is harder to access than their previous territory, so keeping tabs on them has been more difficult. Charm has not been seen for a while, but we hope she is still out there – raising her dynasty.

The area where the lion film was made - the Musiara Marsh in the Masai Mara in Kenya - is protected and reserved for wildlife, but there are still dangers and threats to the pride, especially from herdsmen and their livestock.

Charm the lioness with one of her clubs
For such a powerful lioness, Charm was incredibly gentle with her young cubs. © Simon Blakeney | BBC NHU 2018

The Africa-wide picture for lions is worrying. Lions are listed as vulnerable on the IUCN Red List. According to conservationists, their numbers have dropped across Africa by nearly half in just the last two decades, with estimates suggesting there are as few as 20,000 animals left in the wild, and less than 2,000 in Kenya.

Conservation groups point out that lions need large territories, but more and more these are being squeezed as human populations continue to grow. Increasingly Africa’s savannah grasslands, on which lions depend, are being used for livestock grazing, or transformed completely to build homes or grow crops. This leads not only to conflict with humans, often when lions take livestock or move through human areas, but the pressure for space can also lead to an increased level of conflict between lion prides themselves. The most common outcome of conflict with humans is that lions are killed, often through poisoning and shooting.

Featured image by Louis Rummer-Downing | BBC NHU 2018

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