AHMEDABAD: Like in the movie Lion King, young Simba has come off age. Three-and-a-half-year-old Sandipan and his unnamed brother have established the largest kingdom in the Sasan Gir, spread over 100 sq km and including 32 big cats.
These are the two youngest rulers who have captured the biggest pride in the sanctuary. And, both have been accepted as rulers, even by other adult males.
Experts who have been monitoring Gir for years say this is unusual. H S Singh, additional principal chief conservator of forest and an expert on lions, calls this a rare phenomenon. "Usually a lions captures his own territory only after he is five years. Capturing a territory at such a young age is only possible if the opponent is weak and the new king is brave enough to take risks," Singh said.
In May last week, the two brothers had established their supremacy over the biggest pride of the Gir forest and instead of pushing the old lion out, the duo stayed close to him until he died.
The last bastion, Paniya, which has presence of two adult lions, was conquered without any bloodshed. "We were expecting a fierce battle between these adults and the brothers. But, the take-over was very smooth with the two adults accepting the Sandipan's supremacy," said Kumar.