The Simba Survivors Live On – Update from the Serengeti Lion Project

October 29, 2013 Simba Survivors | Unique Safaris

The Simba Survivors, aptly named by Dr. Craig Packer and his team of field researchers from the Serengeti Lion Project, were a small pride of lions struggling on the seasonally harsh plains of the central Serengeti near the Simba Kopjes. The pride consisted of only one adult female, a young brother and sister, and three small cubs. Sadly in December 2012, the adult female died, likely in a fight with other lions. Despite their youth and inexperience, the researchers were hopeful that the young brother and sister, Leo and Kira, would survive on their own. But they had no such illusions for the three cubs, each only five months old.

Shortly after their mother’s death, both Leo and Kira along with the three cubs disappeared and researchers didn’t see them for months. It wasn’t until May 2013 when Daniel Rosengren was driving along a shallow valley of the plains that he saw a young male together with a small male. At first, Daniel didn’t recognize the two but after searching through his collection of lion identification cards, he found a match. It was Leo and one of the small cubs. Pleased to come across them he watched them for some time, jotting down notes in his field journal about their physical appearance and behavior. To his astonishment, he later came across Kira. Not only had the young inexperienced lions managed to survive but, working together, they were raising one of the small cubs.

It is October now and the remaining members of the Simba Survivors are still roaming the vast Serengeti plains. They have not yet settled into a territory but this brother and sister pair has proven to be both true survivors and good caretakers, a fitting homage to their mother.

About the Serengeti Lion Project

Originally founded in 1966 by Dr. George Schaller and continued in 1978 by Dr. Craig Packer and his team from the University of Minnesota, the Serengeti Lion Project has given scientists and conservationists all over the world nearly 50 years of pioneering lion research. Considered the world’s foremost experts on lion behavior and ecology, Craig and his team have dramatically shaped our knowledge of why lions, the only truly social cats, live in cooperative communities and how their social structure contributes to their survival.

Our Partnership

Unique Safaris has had a close relationship with the Serengeti Lion Project since 1996. Due to our commitment to the Lion Project and the added proximity of our U.S office to the project’s headquarters at the University of Minnesota, we’ve had the unique opportunity to plan a limited number of safaris escorted by Dr. Packer. Those interested in helping fund the project get an exclusive research opportunity that very few people in the word get to experience.

To request more information about how you can join Dr. Packer for a unique field experience, got to or request an  itinerary.

For more information on the Serengeti Lion Project, visit Lion Research or view National Geographic magazine’s August 2013 issue of The Short Happy Life of a Serengeti Lion.

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