You Won’t Believe The Sad Story of the Oldest Lion In Kruger National Park


In many ways, the internet exploded in popularity in large part due to cute animal videos. After all, the friends and family members that couldn’t care less about terms like “the world wide web” back in the day could always find time to laugh at cute memes of cats talking about cheeseburgers.

However, not all animal stories on the internet are heartwarming, and some are just downright depressing. That’s certainly the case when it comes to the latest story about the oldest lion in South Africa’s Kruger National Park. Just who is this lion, and what makes the latest chapter in his story so heartbreaking? Keep reading to discover the answers!

A national park visit that soon went off the rails

This surprising story about a lion actually begins with two humans: Storm Zackey and the Instagram influencer Andrew the Video Guy. The two of them took a trip to Kruger National Park in South Africa, and they had no reason to think their exotic trip would be particularly scary or particularly sad.

That all changed once they started heading in the direction of Crocodile Bridge Restcamp. They were shocked to see the Lubyelubye male, who is famous in the area for being the oldest lion in the park. When he lifted up his head and looked in their direction, the two park visitors counted themselves lucky to escape without getting bitten.

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From shock to sadness

The earlier shock of the park visitors turned to sadness when they made a return trip later that night to see if the lion was still there. Not only was he still there, but once they got a closer look at him, they realized what poor health the creature was in.

For one thing, the lion they saw was so weak and tired that he could barely move. And when the lion did get up and manage to yawn, the visitors were able to clearly see his ribcage and bones sticking out. Rather than being a fearsome king of the jungle who is getting his fill of food, it was clear that this poor lion wasn’t getting nearly enough to eat. On top of that, as the lion walked across their path and away from the visitors, they could see that he was nursing an injury as well. 

Who is the oldest lion in Kruger National Park?

While he’s not exactly internet famous, the Lubyelubye male lion of Kruger National Park is very well known to locals and frequent visitors. According to Newsweek, this lion was in his prime about 10 years ago when he began to dominate the local pride. And you can watch videos of this time period that show this legendary lion surrounded by happy cubs and a fierce lioness. Unfortunately, time has not been kind to this particular legend.

A few years ago, he was ousted from his position of power by four other male lions. His cubs are all grown up, and there have been no sightings of the lioness he was once seen with. Interestingly, though, this male managed to outlive the lions who took him down, leading to his lonely current vigil as the oldest lion in the park.

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How long do these lions normally live?

If you are simply looking at this lion now, you may not see the sad creature as very impressive. Nonetheless, the very fact that he is still alive showcases his fierce will to live. This particular species of lion normally has an average lifespan of 10-15 years, and the male lion in question is a whopping 15 years old.

Whether it’s through his keen animal cunning or more than a bit of luck, this male has outlasted all of his friends and even his enemies to become the oldest male in the area. However, seeing how thin and emaciated he is in his final days serves as a sobering reminder that living to an extreme old age can be both a blessing and a curse.

A legend that will never be forgotten

The sight of an old and starving lion would have been depressing enough in almost any context. However, what really drives the tragedy of this lion home is that by the time you’ve read this, he has most likely died!

This lion was last sighted on June 9, 2023, and there have been no sightings of him since. Additionally, experts believe that the injuries that the park visitors noticed most likely came from a fight (or even multiple fights) that the lion engaged in. In all likelihood, the noble beast has succumbed to his injuries and died in the wilderness, but he leaves behind the kind of story and legacy that we won’t soon forget 

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