The guides here fondly refer to him as Butcherman a name that was popularised by a physically challenged but talented artiste in Uganda's music industry.
The lion derives this name from the time one of his legs was amputated by the vets following a life threatening poacher's snare that alsmost claimed his life in 2011.
He has since lived and moved on three limbs but with a lot of care from colleagues in his pride. Buctherman being the biggest male in the pride roaming around the delta area. He met his fate when one of his hind legs got entagled into a wiresnare that had been set by notorious poachers.
The snares are indiscriminate as they catch any creature that passes where they are laid. Being so energetic, the lion struggled with the snare and was able to pull down the shrub on which the wire had been tied.Unfortunately, in the process of struggling with the wire snare, he ended up fracturing the lower bones of his hind leg on which the wire had been firmly tightened as a result of the force applied to pull the shrub.With tourism activities going on along the delta area, the men and women with binoculars anxious to watch the cats in the park caught up with the ailing lion.His leg was indeed swollen and was in real pain !The ailing lion had lost its body weight, been dehydrated,unable to hunt and had became defenseless though his brother kept a close watch.
The pride members remained supportive by ensuring safety and sharing the kill.As the pride shifted, Butcherman could be forced to move along.This terribly worsened his fractured hind leg!! Losing of a head of a pride in the cat family is as bad as losing a family head! Among lions, once the head is dead or defeated, the new male takes over leadership of the pride.This means that he takes over the females within the pride for whatever "reason" one could imagine!!, But he may kill or chase away all curbs , infants, sub-adult lions because they are not of his gene make up.
T his occurs if the male lion is from another pride . As result ,this scatters lions in the park after losing the home range and territory.In some cases, the lions end up straying on public land that futher culmiminates into conflict as the chased lions resort to feeding on humans or their domestic animals. In addition, this heavily reduces the chance for tourists to spot one among the animals for a must see to most visitors in the park.
Being cognisant of the above negative results, Uganda Wildlife Authourity dispatched a team of veterinary doctors who mounted a search for the whereabouts of the lions. Upon establishing the location of the pride,it became difficult to approach the sick lion!! All the pride members became too protective to allow the veterinary doctors access the sick animal for treatment.
However the skillful vets made a break through and accessed the lion and thereafter immobilised it. The doctors discovered multiple fracutures on its lower hind leg and much of the area around was very much affected by bacteria.In their proffessional wisdom, the vets decided to amputate the lower part of the limb as the immediate solution.A surgery was carried out under heavy guard by wildlife rangers.
Upon completion, the amputated lion was left but continued to monitor its health condition. A big thanks to the Uganda Wildlife Authourity Veterinary unit. Food(meat) was provided till when the lion was able to walk and join its pride members.
After some days, Butcherman was able to "see light at the end of the tunnel" as he had been on the"edge of life" .He struggled to learn to walk on three legs just like a curb born a few hours ago!! He progresively improved and finally was able to cope up with the pride movement.However, he sometimes opted to live alone.As time passed by, it became apparent that his brother who was next to him in the pride assumed leadership of the pride.
The brother protected the pride and provided food to Butcherman on some accassions.His brother's new position in the pride meant that he took over making and feeding rights .Hence, Butcherman, could feed following the hierachhy as any ordinary member in the pride.
Reminicent of how life used to be before, one day Butcherman made an attempt to reproduce (mate) with his one time lady (lioness). But after his brother realised that the two individuals secretly moved away from the pride for mating purposes, a search was mounted untill duo were discovered trying to renew their relationship by "starting from where they had stopped" before Butcherman got injured.
Butcherman got the beating from his brother for attempting to cheat ! He survived the attack with some bodily injuries that were later treated. Having demostrated that he was in full charge of the pride,Butcherman's brother could patrol and lead the pride all over their home range,mating and carrying out successful stalking that led to countless kills.Butcherman would be among the beneficiaries of the kills made.Doom befell Butcherman's brother when he got entangled in the wiresnare.This accident couldn't be identified in time as it was far away from the game viewing track.Consequently, that led to his death!! After a few days, vultures were sighted soaring in the sky above the caucus!!. And that marked the end of his life.!! The disappearance of Butcherman's brother opened yet another page in life"survival for the fittest."
Butcherman now has to ensure that life goes on and the pride remains intact.Another Male in the pride is nearly taking control of the pride. This may be the reason why Butcherman is apparently in courtship and mating sessions with his former lioness.This time of year is always the mating period for the ions.The pride must have many individuals.Disability is not inability.