Known for his dreaded locks, Hjalmar was a resident male in Tanzania's Ngorongoro Conservation Area (NCA) for a couple years along with Kijana, a single male that immigrated into the crater. These two formed a coalition and sired cubs with the Lagunita pride.
When their offspring was a couple years old, other males moved into the crater and kicked Hjalmar and Kijana out. Kijana was never seen after that event. Hjalmar was only spotted a few times, often full of fighting wounds, until he resurfaced in July 2018 on the open vast plains of the NCA and Serengeti National Park border.
This area is not safe for lions as there are many groups of traditional warriors camping out with their herds of sheep. Hjalmar was a massive male and would have been a very attractive trophy for a Maasai warrior.
Staff from Kope Lion got word of Hjalmar's sighting and knew they had to reach him fast. The field staff were in an area with unreliable communication and had no choice but to start out on foot towards his location. Eventually, Kope Lion staff were able to drive a vehicle out to search for him.
They arrived to the spot of his sighting and there Hjalmar was—an immense male alone on the plains. Staff easily identified him and "herded" him into Serengeti National Park, where he will have much greater protection and we be less likely to prey off of the warriors' livestock.
Against many odds, Hjalmar was able to traverse great distances—trekking from the crater, across the NCA which is shared with human populations, and into the Serengeti. Hjalmar's journey is not only surprising, but demonstrates hope that future lions will be able to successfully traverse these landscapes.
Learn more about our project with Kope Lion in the Ngorongoro Conservation Area here.