"Lion: The Rise and Fall of the Marsh Pride" was made possible in part by contributions to your PBS station from viewers like you.
♪ Man: When it happened, the worst thing to do is say, "I told you so."
But yeah, you felt like kicking the furniture and everything.
You know, emotionally, you're pretty angry at the person who did it, irrespective of their reasons.
And you know you're gonna see, you know, a bunchload of old chums, really, who are gonna be lying around dying.
And, um, everybody arrives there shocked.
But there isn't a single person there that didn't know that this happens.
Yeah, it's a tragedy.
Second man: It's now 6 years since those incident happened.
Whenever we come to this place, the memories come back.
This is where we lost these lions.
First man: We were here and we could feel tension.
We knew that something was gonna happen.
Many of the members of the Marsh Pride were very close to us.
For us to lose them inside their mama was heartbreaking.
First man: They were best-known pride anywhere in the world.
♪ Our story today concerns the family life and hunting activities of a pride of lions that has taken up residence in the southwestern portion of Kenya, East Africa, here in the lush surroundings of a marsh adjacent to the great Mara plains.
Woman: The famous pride of lions in Kenya from the Marsh Pride-- [Different woman speaking French] Different woman: It's a family of lions who star in a hugely popular international wildlife series-- [Man speaking native language] Different man: People who are following this particular pride of lions that had a few babies recently.
Many people around the world may have heard of them and followed them for 30 years.
Woman: The Marsh Pride have moved audiences around the world for decades.
It's like a drama, but it's a real drama and it's unfolding right in front of you.
Man: Go, Simba.
Run, run, run.
I mean, it couldn't be more Shakespearean.
It couldn't be more medieval England.
[Raining] Bibi, I'm sorry.
Nothing we can do.
Trying to second-guess what might happen next is almost impossible.
Man: Maasai people and lion, they fought together for many, many years.
They survived together.
It's a long story.
Even talking would take days, actually.
Different man: If you start talking about the Marsh Pride, each of those lions has his or her own story.
Different man: The story of the Marsh Pride is both a story about lions and it's about lions trying to live amongst humans.
Narrator: In the Maasai Mara, Kenya's richest game reserve, a pair of lionesses watch over a herd of wildebeest.
And watching over them all is Jonathan Scott, a young English naturalist who, for 5 years, studied, photographed, and drew the wildlife here.
[Wildebeest snorting, lion growling] Scott: When I first saw the Marsh Pride, of course, I was just living my dream.
Here was a kid from England, degree in zoology, wanting to find a way of living with wild animals in Africa.
It was the best place, as far as I was concerned.
Man: This is where you studied for so long the animals you called Marsh Lions.
Now, I think we should make that clear.
Marsh Lions are just lions but they live in a marsh.
Scott: That's right.
A particular group of lions actually made this area the core area of their territory.
The marsh is a glorious place, full of bird life, buffalo, elephants in the dry season, wildebeest and zebra.
We're in the Garden of Eden, and that is Marsh Pride territory.
These animals are so individual and so complex that you haven't got a hope in hell of understanding them unless you put in the time.
I suppose what I love about looking back at my scrapbook is the richness of the story that we would be able to unfold over the years.
[Roaring] And so, in 1998, we had the two Marsh Pride males, Scar and Scruffy, and they couldn't have been more different.
Scar was this wonderful, magnificent, big male lion.
Scruffy looked younger.
Didn't have such a full-blown mane and, in fact, never developed one.
That's the case sometimes.
But Scruffy, he was my hero.
If you wanted to be led into battle, you would make the biggest mistake of your life if you went with the guy with the big, brown mane over the scruffy one.
Scruffy was--he was the real deal.
The males are vitally important to secure the territory for the females.
You're part of the glue that binds the pride together.
[Engine starts] When we talk about a pride, what are we really talking about?
We're talking about the family.
Only lions come together, form these groups, and raise the cubs as a family, and it's something that none of the other cats do.
The best-case scenario for a lion pride is where they create a creche, where they've got lion cubs, where they've got cubs of a similar age.
So, the lionesses by 1998 had come into season, and we had these 11 young cubs in the safety of the most perfect breeding place you could ever wish for.
This is really the heart of the Marsh Pride territory, and I can literally look today at every single one of these trees, every patch of bush, and there's a story.
That's where the lions came under attack from the buffalo.
[Growling] The biggest thing that stands out to me for that day was the difference between Scar and Scruffy.
[Buffalo growling] Buffaloes show no mercy to lions.
'Cause if you're a buffalo, those cubs are the same creatures that are gonna kill you or your calves.
[Lions growling] ♪ Glamour boy was Scar.
Well, tell you what, when the chips were down, Scar was rubbish.
It was Scruffy who just got in there.
So, cubs were tucked away in the bushes.
Those were little, tiny cubs.
They weren't ready to be running around in the open.
[Growling] Now the buffalo have tracked them by scent, and they're almost on top of them.
[Grunting] The big thing that was going through my mind was here is the nucleus of a new chapter in the Marsh Pride's history, and it's gonna be smashed out of the water by the buffalo.
[Growling] Amidst the devastation, who knew how many of those cubs would survive?
[Grunting] The mothers were absolutely stressed.
They were salivating, they were out of breath, and they were calling.
You know, you could feel the energy that had been sucked out of them in trying to defend the cubs, in trying to chase the buffaloes away.
What would it have been like to have been a tiny lion cub to have gone through that?
I was sure we would lose maybe 3, 4, 5 cubs, and in the end, we just lost one.
And it would have been more if it hadn't have been for Scruffy.
Yet, and this is the fascinating thing, what happens?
The year after, 1999, he's moved out of the reserve into areas where there's Maasai with their cattle.
He hooks up with a female from another pride, they kill a cow, and they're speared, in the age-old conflict between man and livestock and wildlife.
If you crossed the line as a lion and you ate a cow, there would be retribution, but I understand that.
But there were far fewer Maasai, there was far fewer cattle, and the way in which the Maasai and the cattle and the wildlife and the lions operated, it worked.
There was still a harmony to it.
Man: A lion does not fear going through the long grass.
A lion does not fear going through a dark night.
A lion does not fear going through forest.
Often, the elders in a community associate themselves to a lion.
They say they have a heart of a lion.
Their fearless is like a lion.
You find the Maasai people and the lions' history, or, historically, you cannot separate the two.
Scott: What you got to remember with the Maasai is their relationship with lions.
And we should say a huge thank you to them for not killing animals for food.
But that traditional sense of the male lion as the ultimate prize for a warrior to test his courage, you were a hero within your group if you killed a male lion.
Looseyia: First of all, I was not a very brave warrior.
That's why I'm here.
I was coward, because I have seen-- since I was a young man, I've seen what lion can do.
Because those warriors, they don't succeed all the time.
Well, very often, the lions succeed.
They come home shredded.
[Laughs] Even our children, we tell them, "Be careful.
"The male might turn around and say, 'You're invading my family,' and will turn against you."
[Bird chirping] Man: Looks like we've had visitors in the middle of the night.
Take a look at this here.
Adult female, I think.
Right through the middle of the camp, in case we had any doubts that we were in the heart of the action.
We spend all day looking for them.
Instead, they come looking for us.
I completely understand why someone whose livelihood is threatened by the company of a big predator might see that lion footprint a couple of meters away from the tent they were sleeping in terrifying and unwelcome.
For me, it's an absolute thrill.
This is the Maasai Mara in Kenya.
Over the next 6 weeks, we're going to be following in intimate detail the lives of Africa's big cats, sending back a weekly report, a diary of their hardships and good fortunes as they happen.
Man: Over the last few weeks, we've been treated to one of the most incredible TV soaps ever.
It's "The Big Cat Diary," staggering film of everyday life of lions, leopards, and cheetahs.
King: I couldn't know then what I was doing was eavesdropping for a little while on a family story that had occurred for millennia... that the real joy is when you begin to uncover some of the stories because of who you absolutely personally recognize.
Having lost his sidekick, Scar was gonna be the epicenter of this narrative.
It's really hard to know what goes on inside the head of a lion who loses his ally.
Do they feel a sense of vulnerability and fear?
Is it bravado that carries them on?
The more time we spent with Scar and watched his body language, the more it seemed to me that he was increasingly nervous within his own territory.
[Elephant trumpeting] ♪ ♪ You know, the tenure of an adult male, 2, 3 years at best, most of the time, until he's challenged by a mightier male or males looking to expand their own interests and territories.
When you saw him around other lions, even his own pride, he would often be staring off to the horizon.
When hyenas came on the scene, instead of just being the big man who would always run in and try and kill one, he'd just look a little bit uncomfortable and vulnerable.
[Hyena vocalizes] [Hyena vocalizes] And he was quite happy to sit back and leave it to the older cubs in the pride to do the job of chasing hyenas away when, really, it should've been him.
[Lion growling] [Hyenas vocalizing] You see the adolescent dynamic of this mob of younger lions finding their feet and testing their world.
[Lion growling] [Hyenas vocalizing] Hyenas and lions, there's no love lost between them.
They're both after the same nosh.
They both can threaten each other's lives.
And what keeps lion prides safe from attack by hyenas is big adult males.
[Bird chirping] And I could see Scar shrinking.
And so, as Scar starts to lose his grip, we start to see this state of flux in the pride.
It was clear that Scar needed backup.
You see this shift of behavior with some of his own cubs, who ordinarily would be kicked out 'cause they're young males who themselves are becoming quite feisty and mature.
Instead, he thinks, "Oh, you could be allies.
Come with me, dudes.
We'll stick together."
And then you get this curious alliance where you've got this lumping great, big male, dad, that in any other circumstance would chase young males off, even if they're his only progeny.
We had all the ingredients of what was, let's face it, an extraordinary drama playing out before our eyes.
You've got this big fella who's gonna lose the throne unless he allies with these young lads.
Any one snapshot of a group of lions looking happy and calm together can be misleading.
There's nothing predictable about the dynamics of a family like the Marsh Pride.
You might think everything is pretty stable and settled and it's OK, and you can't see that curveball coming, and neither can they.
Everything can change in an hour.
[Wind howling] For Scar, the profound change came when two big, mature males came over the horizon.
We called them Simba and Blondie, and they had one thing on their mind, and that was takeover.
They wanted that throne.
I can remember the adrenaline again.
You know that if there's going to be a fight, the likelihood is one of them's gonna die, and the likelihood is that's gonna be Scar.
Everything about their body language showed intent to take over.
Their gaze was fixed, their eyes are big.
Then we witnessed them making their mark on the local hyenas.
[Hyena vocalizing] ♪ [Lions growling] [Vocalizing] [Roaring] [Vocalizing] [Hyenas vocalizing] [Lion growls] [Hyenas vocalizing] [Vocalizing] [Lion growls] When a coalition of male lions move in and one of the first things they do is kill a hyena, that has a ripple effect throughout the community.
Straightaway, every one of the hyenas knows they mean business, so, there's a difference, immediate difference in respect and distance that they're likely to push.
[Birds chirping] And once they're done the job that they intended, they reaffirm the bond between them with the most kitten-like, floppy cuddles you can imagine.
They are one big aura of combined might.
For themselves, they identify with each other, but also for any other lion in the neighborhood.
Now, would Scar have come across the carcass of the hyena that they killed, smelled the saliva and the urine and the scent of two big males?
Maybe, maybe not.
If he did, what a statement.
What a calling card to say, "Mister, we're in, and this is what we do."
We'd never experienced a full-on scrap with Scar.
I think he was too canny for that.
Having lost tenure of the pride, he realized when it was time to run, and most males do, and for a male lion, life after pride life is usually pretty short.
But that's a natural cycle, that's a natural death.
It was the pride as a whole that faced an entirely new set of threats.
And it became clear that there was a parallel story of change occurring within the human community on the edge of the Marsh Pride's territory.
Scott: The Maasai were becoming more sedentary.
They were no longer as nomadic in their movement with their cattle.
Part of the problem for the Maasai in a sense was that the government likes to have people on plot A, B, C. They want you to become settled.
They want you to become part of the cash economy.
And that, of course, means that fences go up, people's livelihoods change, um, and having lions as your next-door neighbors becomes a different reality.
[Cow bell ringing] Looseyia: We have changed our lifestyle as a community, as a Maasai people, and that has affected the Marsh Pride.
[Indistinct chatter] [Cow bell ringing] [Cow bell ringing] [Man speaking native language] Man: People like Sayianka, just a pastoralist who really loves his cows, so, cows, for Maasai, is a very sacred animal.
Like, they are seen as a livelihood, not only, you know, because of the milk, the meat, but they have a deeper cultural meaning for a Maasai.
[Man speaking native language] Kaelo: Yeah, so, one of our concerns is the Marsh Pride, which tend to move out and cause conflict by killing livestock, ah, and, you know, this will put them in conflict with human beings.
[Men speaking native language] [Man speaking native language] [Whistles] ♪ ♪ King: When we came back in 2004 to the Marsh Pride, it was lovely to be greeted by a genuine mob.
They had been doing very well in our absence and 29 lions in the pride at the time, including cubs and lionesses that we knew well.
Scott: What we saw with the 29 lions told you everything, really, about how different lions are from all the other cats.
Big and powerful enough not to have to hide away at night, isn't solitary.
We have Simba on parade with--with the whole mob, you know, in his finery.
He'd lost his sidekick to an encounter with a buffalo.
So, his buddy had been killed.
Scott: He's the only pride male now trying to actually control this big area, this--this pride territory.
King: One of the lionesses who stood out as a character for us was a female we called Bibi.
We'd known Bibi since she was a tiny cub.
Scott: I've got a soft spot for Bibi because she's a survivor of the debacle with the buffaloes.
She was probably-- almost certainly was the daughter of Scar.
Sounds a bit strange to describe a lioness as sweet, but there was a sweetness about her character.
King: Lionesses generally all conceive more or less together if they're in a pride.
They all have young cubs at more or less the same time, so, you get a rash of little babies.
The other lionesses within the group, they were a strong unit.
They had quite well-grown cubs, many of them.
Bibi had very, very small cubs, so, she had conceived out of sync.
Scott: She's been caught in an awkward situation and she's just irrelevant to the rest of the pride.
King: She'd taken herself off to give birth and to have these tiddlers.
It's like having a 1-year-old whilst all your mates have got 18-year-olds.
Being a single mum as a lioness is not easy.
And there's no doubt that Bibi would have preferred to have been in the fold of the pride.
She would shadow, sometimes at 300, 400 meters, sometimes a little more than that, but within eyesight.
And it was clear that she wanted in... but was also feeling threatened and not quite comfortable.
The main group of the Marsh Pride are hunting.
The leading lioness moving in towards a mixed group of animals-- topis, zebra, wildebeest.
The art of the experienced lioness is to try and keep an eye on all of the animals she's moving towards.
There's a buffalo starting to move in towards her.
Scott: I think the ultimate challenge for any pride of lions is when they decide they're gonna tackle a buffalo.
[Buffalo grunting] King: The buffalo's definitely caught a scent.
Scott: There's a lot of strategy involved, but in trying to actually catch the buffalo, that's a whole different game.
She's gonna go for it.
Buffalo scores first strike.
She's going in.
And she's on.
[Buffalo grunting] Scott: You've got a lioness who's onto the killing bite and she's bitten over the nose and mouth, and you will see the buffalo desperately trying to breathe, and the breath will be coming out of the lioness' nostrils, and you'll see the lioness' nostrils just inflating as the buffalo...[exhales] desperately...[inhales], and it can't do it because it's locked down.
And you imagine what that takes, not just in terms of getting that bite but getting into position around the front end of a buffalo?
Is there anywhere that you would rather not be?
[Buffalo grunting] [Raining] Looseyia: Buffaloes are tough.
Buffaloes are mean, very mean indeed, but yet they have the food, they have the meat that the Marsh Pride requires, the easy meal, but then they see this other buffet that's so easy to pick-- the cows.
They hide in the reeds, but not entirely.
They just look through the reeds and they said, "Oh, even though there's Maasai there, I can still kill that cow."
[Laughs] They're naughty.
Narrator: What these men are about to do is extremely dangerous.
30 men and boys preparing to track and kill a lion.
It's the mark.
Here it is mark.
Man: So, it's a dangerous business.
Yeah, it's a danger business.
Not an easy business altogether.
It is for you to choose to kill or to die.
Narrator: This is a revenge mission, a hunt for two lions which have been killing the local cattle.
[Men speaking native language] Kaelo: When there's killings of livestock, there is a lot of anger, and people don't think at that point, "What can I do?"
They will go and identify that particular lion that is responsible and, you know, go with a spear and kill it.
Man: They are going to kill the lion.
Looseyia: As long as it's a spear.
A spear doesn't destroy them.
The spear will just take one, and then the others learn, "Um-umm.
I shouldn't go that way."
Kaelo: So, to them, this is just an enemy that has come to kill your cows, so, let me wipe it out.
The number of livestock are growing.
There's a talk of population doubling every 9 years.
Now you've got a whole different situation, and with people eating up the landscape which was primarily before available to the lions, who's gonna be squeezed most?
The lions at the edge, The Marsh Pride.
[Cow bells ringing] Kaelo: So, all these things put a lot of pressure on the available land for conservation or land that's available for lions to roam in.
[Cows mooing] King: In 2004, we could see that the pressures were developing.
The Maasai communities will revolve primarily around the herds of cattle.
And, of course, our attention was focused almost wholly on the lions' story.
♪ In order for Bibi to stand the greatest chance of raising her cubs, she had to maximize their chance of survival.
When a lioness is on her own, she's far less likely to be successful hunting at night because at night, all of the hyenas are out.
Every other lion is out.
So, she's pressured to be busy by day.
She's out when it's hot, when it's really uncomfortable, and whilst her cubs are exposed to the dangers of the day, not least the burning sun.
Scott: This is what being a lioness is all about-- raising offspring.
The gestation period is only, what, 110 days, so, 3 1/2 months.
But your investment in that cub's life, to get it through to maturity, it's a very long, protracted process.
So, the chances of any cub surviving all the trials and tribulations of what it takes to be a full-grown lion, you've really got your back up against it.
And for somebody like Bibi, ostracized by the pride, membership of the pride territory is about all she's got going for her.
She's got somewhere to call home.
King: The fig tree played a really important role to Bibi as a nursery.
Scott: Those fig trees were so massive, they would have, like, hidden caves and these wonderful, dark passageways where a little lion cub could get right in amongst the tree roots and no hyena, buffalo, no lion could get in and drag them out.
It's a great patch when the season is dry and all the wildebeest and zebra come down here to drink, but at the moment, it looks absolutely bare of life, and that means getting a meal is gonna be a real challenge.
[Wind blowing] ♪ ♪ Despite being quite small, warthogs are incredibly tough animals, and it's going to take all of Bibi's strength to suffocate her prey... using her vise-like grip with those immensely powerful jaws to close on the throat of the warthog and eventually stifle his breath.
Bit of a grim sight, really.
♪ ♪ With Bibi off dealing with breakfast in the form of a warthog that she's just killed not very far away, the cubs are left all alone in the fig tree, and danger has moved into the neighborhood.
There's a martial eagle sitting at the top of the tree, studying the ground.
If the cubs move out of the cover and into the open, they are very vulnerable.
A bird of this size, this power could very easily kill one of Bibi's cubs and carry it away before she even knows it's happened.
She's putting in a supreme effort to try and get her warthog kill back to where the cubs are waiting, about a kilometer away, and now she's stumbled into a small group of elephants.
They haven't seen her yet, but if they do, they're not going to take lightly to a lion in their midst.
Very experienced cat, Bibi.
She's just slipped out of the way and for now, she's left the warthog kill lying in the grass.
♪ ♪ [Grunting] Where are they?
Here they come.
Both of them.
So, whilst Bibi was trying to hold it together as a single mum, the pride male, Simba, had his own problems.
He was strutting his stuff by hanging out with the pride from time to time, capitalizing on the kills made, and roaring regularly.
[Roaring loudly] Simba declaring to everybody that this is still his patch.
[Roaring] [Roars] It's a mixed message, as far as he's concerned.
He's an adult male, yes, but if any other adult males are in the area, and particularly if there are several together, they might well take that message as a challenge and come in and try and take over the pride.
For a lone male at the top of the tree, there's an omnipresent threat.
Behind every tree, behind every bush, there's a potential takeover.
Scott: They slink around.
They're not telling you where they are.
They're not announcing themselves.
They're not even letting you see who they are.
They don't roar.
They don't pee and scrape mark.
They don't leave a sign of their presence, because they don't want you knowing what they're up to and coming and jumping on their back ahead of time.
And then one day, they see their moment.
King: As is so often the case with lion life, this was like history repeating itself.
Simba himself had taken over the Marsh Pride with his sidekick Blondie in the past was now on his own and under threat from two new invading males.
Scott: You're looking for property, looking "What real estate is available to me?"
"What are the strengths and the weaknesses based on the roaring of the one pride male--Simba?"
[Simba roaring] King: And when they spot a vulnerable male, as Simba was, you could almost feel the weight lifting off them and the confidence coming back into their skin as they rise up to the challenge, literally rise up to the challenge.
[Simba roaring] Oh, gosh.
Suddenly, he's a forlorn character.
He's calling for backup.
He's calling for help here.
[Simba roaring] Oh, not more than 50 meters away, we've got two male lions closing the gap on Simba, and they look mean.
They look really mean.
Here they go.
[Simba roaring] Ooh!
Watch your back, Simba.
Watch your back.
There's no more than just a few meters between them now.
This is weird.
He know-- he must know they're there.
[Simba roaring] Here we go.
This is it.
[King inhales sharply] Go, Simba.
Run, run, run.
Get out of it.
The idea that all males stand and fight, there's some kind of valor to being beaten up to the point of death-- they want to live.
And when it's really, really dangerous and scary, they're legging it.
[Simba roaring] Scott: You look at the body language of the two young males, yes, they're sort of fully intent and they want to come closer, but there's a degree of reticence.
The minute he stops and turns and faces them...OK.
They're not looking for a fight.
They're happy if they can move him on and he continues to run.
King: Those invading males, wisely, don't want to take too many risks, because if they encounter a serious fight and they get cut up, their own chances of fathering cubs in the future are wrecked.
[Simba roaring] Scott: I think a lot of people tend to like the idea of the gladiators-- fight to the death.
Often, lions simply say, "OK, under threat.
Time to go."
Simba does the obvious thing.
Go to the safest place in your territory and then roar at the top of your voice to say, "I am here.
I am not leaving.
"This is my place.
If you dare, come and try and oust me."
[Simba roaring loudly] King: These two new males had achieved their first objective.
They pushed Simba to the very margins of the Marsh Pride territory.
Their next step was to try and kill any young cubs that remain in the pride.
And the cubs on the front line were Bibi's.
[Speaking indistinctly] Man: Yeah.
Scott: So, Bibi, you could say, drew the short straw.
She's a lone lioness with dependent cubs.
And then, you know, just to give her the absolutely ultimate challenge, along come any lioness' worst nightmare.
Two nomads start sniffing around.
[Wind blowing] King: You could see that she was deeply concerned and upset for her cubs, I'm sure, who we couldn't see, but they were very close to her somewhere in the vegetation.
Those males are looking to kill cubs so that they can then mate with the female and start their own pride.
This is bad now.
Scott: If she was to get up and charge those males, confronts them, but after all, she's a lioness.
You know, she's not as big as them.
[Thunder] She was thinking, "Better not to give your hand away.
Better not to rush out all big and bluster," because one of them, whilst one is confronting her, could easily just go in to where she was, where the cubs were, smell-- end of story.
[Raining] King: Aw, this is just awful.
It's as though everything is conspiring against Bibi and her cubs.
We've got the two male lions 50 meters outside the ditch where she's hiding her cubs.
And now, coming from the opposite direction, a whole herd of buffalo.
King: You're in that charged emotional space with the cats.
And it's a curious cocktail of--of feelings, because it's exciting, but it's also something that you, ironically, don't want to see, because you don't want to see the cubs being killed.
[Rain continues] Bibi, I'm sorry.
Nothing we can do.
There's so nothing we can do now.
It's down to you.
And she's still in those bushes.
I can just see her.
OK, he's come out.
Bibi managed to intimidate the young male.
[Windshield wipers clacking] Miraculously, it looks as though the herd of buffalo is swinging away.
They're still really close to where Bibi and the cubs are hiding, but I don't think they're going to go through the bushes where she currently is crouching.
The male lions, however, are keeping an eye on her, and I don't know what their next move is going to be.
The trouble is, it's getting dark, and we're gonna have to leave soon.
This story will only have a conclusion if and when we find her tomorrow.
[Birds chirping] King: We did find her the following day.
The males were not to be seen, the new males.
She was apparently completely alone... and we did fear the worst.
We thought we were going to find her find corpses.
[Bibi grunts softly] [Grunts softly] But true to form, she found her cubs stuck in the bottom of a fig tree--ha ha-- who had found their way back to the castle of the fig tree.
Massive sense of relief when you see the tiddlers.
You shouldn't necessarily feel so invested, but you do.
You get into their world, and you want them to make it out the other side.
And on that occasion, they did.
When I next joined the Marsh Pride, it was all changed again as far as the males are concerned.
Simba nowhere to be seen.
We found a different king at the top of the Marsh Pride, a new, beautiful pride male that we called Notch.
He was on his tod with a fleet of his own babies, a whole new generation of little cubs sired by Notch.
Bibi had lost her previous litter.
In every likelihood, when Notch took over the Marsh Pride, he will have killed Bibi's cubs.
But when we found him with the pride, it's all happy family, isn't it?
That's lion life.
They can't afford to hang around and to grieve and to hold grudges against the male that comes in.
They've just got to get on with it.
Looseyia: Those 4 lionesses from the Marsh Pride, they were just brilliant, brilliant lionesses.
White Eye... Bibi... Lispy... and then you have Red, the power.
She was the best hunter I've ever seen.
King: The gang of 4 females were an awesome hunting force, and each of them had their skill base.
They really did.
White Eye was excellent, excellent when it came to suffocating buffalo.
Scott: White Eye--I mean, what an extraordinary lioness.
It's tough enough to be a lion, but a lion with one eye?
King: Bibi was a very good wildebeest hunter.
She could run out and grapple them.
And Red was just the queen of pincer movement.
She was super and powerful.
So, between them, they had their system sorted.
And that's--the thing came down to motherhood.
Looseyia: The 4 lionesses is so powerful together.
It's a family unit, but one very strong.
King: They've been through the hoops, all of them.
They've all had losses, but now they've got a young family, more or less the right age right across the board.
Things are looking pretty good.
Scott: We were really beginning to feel just how these cats have become big stars.
We had people literally stop us and say, "We're here because of the Marsh Pride.
We wanted to come and see these animals for ourselves."
It's the celebrity factor, isn't it?
We've created celebrities out of them.
Man: They know a Canon lens as opposed to a Nikon lens better than you or I.
They're being photographed so many times.
I mean, they are stars.
[Camera shutters clicking] Scott: And, of course, tourism exploded, and, obviously, the Maasai people benefit.
[Woman speaking indistinctly] Looseyia: Without a tourism there, they will struggle to fund the community, to fund the projects that protects the territory of lions.
[Laughter] Man: For the lions, chattering sightseers are a necessary sideshow.
They may not know it, but the tourist fees helps keep their kingdom theirs and so ensures the future of the cubs.
Looseyia: You have people who come from all over the world.
They think, "Oh, it's cute."
No, it's not!
They are killers.
They kill our cows, so... we love them, but they still give us a lot of trouble.
Man: After a hard day's toil in the savanna, it's time for the visitors to return to camp to practice the lion anecdotes that they'll dine out on all year.
Thomsett: The visitors haven't a clue what it really means to be living next to wildlife.
For them, it's a short, little period whereby they might have that sense of fear, which is all very thrilling.
And you get walked to your tent, you know, in the evening by an armed Maasai, who's reassuring you that everything's OK, 'cause he'll be looking after you at night.
We delude them by showing them that everything is great.
And, um...the behind-the-scenes of every production, there's always things going on, things you don't want people to see-- skeletons in your cupboard.
Scott: So, what can seem like this pristine Garden of Eden, you know, this place that we think of as the most magical place on Earth, is partly an illusion.
You know, forget lions for a minute.
I drive to the Mara, and I would expect to see on my drive in Augur buzzards; Bateleur eagles wheeling around the sky; Tawny eagles, two a penny; and, suddenly, they were disappearing.
Thomsett: There's no vultures anymore.
Why isn't anybody doing anything about it?
The canary in the mine shaft has died, and meanwhile, you know, the minibuses are driving around pointing at elephants and lions.
Scott: At first, we didn't know what was going on.
and then this word began to become the buzzword, appeared in the press-- Furadan, Carbofurin.
Man: A highly toxic insecticide is killing off some of the most striking wildlife in Kenya.
Lions are among the animals dying through what experts believe is deliberate poisoning by herdsmen.
Woman: We are monitoring very carefully the numbers of lions countrywide.
You could see the numbers were plummeting.
I was, at that time, running a campaign to stop the poisoning of lions and other animals in Kenya.
It's become an easy way of getting rid of a problem.
They get very upset when they lose a cow to lions, and their solution is kill the lions.
The Kenya government was not acknowledging the state of the problem, so we went instead to call for total ban on a certain pesticide-- Furadan and the active ingredient Carbofuran.
Newsman: It's a hideous, painful death.
Recently, nearly 200 vultures were killed when they ate a dead animal deliberately contaminated with Carbofuran.
Thomsett: There's been well over a 60% decline in vultures, the most important janitor in the Serengeti, Mara ecosystem.
Yeah, nobody would have cared much if it was just vultures that were dying, but the moment you were saying that, "No, it's lions are dying."
Gosh, that matters."
When exposed to man's devices, lions are extremely fragile.
The latest weapon being used against them is poison.
When CBS' "60 Minutes" came, it was just the best opportunity for us.
You speak English?
Do you have Furadan?
Kahumba: They revealed...
I'll take one bottle, please.
how simple and easy it was to buy this chemical.
over the counter in Kenya.
That's pretty cheap.
Kahumba: After that, huge impact of the show reflected not just in Kenya but all around the world.
We all thought that the Kenya government would take notice and take action.
Um, they didn't.
Thomsett: I think most of the murder mysteries of Agatha Christie were as poison because it's quiet, you're never gonna get caught.
It's way more mysterious and nasty than, you know, the bold act of throwing a spear at something or shooting something.
Kaelo: The way the poisoning really happens is, say lion kill a cow, and the owner, you know, takes out the cow and--and laces it with the--the poison.
So, the lion would come and feed on that carcass, but you would see that this animal is really in deep pain.
Then it would die.
That's actually one of our greatest fear.
Kahumba: The Kenya government never banned Carbofuran.
They never banned Furadan.
In fact, the sale of Carbofuran in other products continues until today.
No, "60 Minutes" didn't put an end to it, no.
They still carry it on.
♪ ♪ King: It felt as though some of the foundation blocks of the solidarity of the females in the Marsh Pride had been chiseled away.
The strength of that gang has been eroded.
We, the people who bring the travel industry to see the pri--the pride, uh, we have to answer a lot of questions.
King: People would arrive and say, "Can I see White Eye?
Can I see Red?"
And the answer from guides would be, "No, because they've gone."
Bibi was now in charge.
She accepted immediately.
She just say, "Let's--let's move on."
And so, she was playing the role of a wise grandma, but she was very sad.
♪ ♪ [Squawking] Scott: The one thing that has kept me going back year after year after year is a new generation of cubs, is new life.
Looseyia: Marsh Pride have been a strong pride for quite a long time, but, uh, the--the change in [indistinct] time.
[Speaking indistinctly] My first time to know the Marsh Pride was in 1998, and Bibi was born in that year.
Every time I look at Bibi, I feel we need to respect them as cats, because I didn't know that cats can survive for such a long time in the wild.
I'll get some of Mr. Alan playing with his food.
Man: Alan was tall and greedy, quite greedy.
We used to call him a--a small hippo.
Oh, thanks, Alan.
Was really interesting.
Man: Sienna was so brave.
Sienna was, like, the main leader of the--of the family, even in hunting, doing everything.
She--at times, I call her a survivor.
Scott: People think that actually Red was Sienna's mother, and I sort of like that idea because like Red, she had it all.
Munene: Lions are always showing love to each other.
'Cause there are stories about lions all--all the time.
They show love amongst themselves.
Scott: When you watch lions like we have, what do I see?
I see the whole history in an instant.
Just goes straight through.
They're in a sense a reflection of their past, and yet here they are living today, and I think that is the real joy, is you feel so connected to those stories, you feel it, you really feel it because it's like you are part of the family.
Thomsett: 2015 was a big year in the sense that it was-- the dry season was long, and it, um... people around the reserve were allowed, with agreement, to take their livestock into the reserve, but only do so at nighttime.
And that meant that the tourists could drive around during the daytime and enjoy all the animals and be deluded in thinking that it wasn't, you know, a cattle ranch at nighttime.
And this was happening, you know, every night, and some of them were building up, you know, quite a taste for cows.
King: Everyone was completely aware of the-- the biggest threat of all lurking in the wings to the Marsh Pride... [Cow bells clanging] from human beings... and--and to see it coming... to see it coming.
[Thunder] Lions and humans find it difficult to live together.
And, to an extent, I can understand it.
"This is our home.
This is our right.
"Who are you to say a lion has more right than we do?
"It's threatening our livestock.
It's threatening our livelihood.
We're gonna do something about it."
♪ ♪ Munene: We spotted them.
The only one that I didn't see-- Bibi wasn't there.
Uh, Sienna wasn't there.
But the way they were walking... by just looking at them, I knew something had happened.
♪ Munene: There's nothing you can do.
Man: He must be in huge pain.
[Inhales sharply] He can barely move, Sammy.
It's all of them, all of them.
Munene: When they get to the top, they lie down, start grooming each other... not in a happy mood, but in a sad mood.
Munene: I was so scared.
So, what I did, I tried to call someone who can help.
Man: There's always that feeling that a miracle can happen.
Maybe...the vets can do something.
Especially if--if you're dealing with something you love.
Scott: 8 of the Marsh Pride had been poisoned.
And it was just... and you know, the biggest thing that came through to me was a sense of guilt.
What do you think we should do, um...
I saw them coming from the carcass.
Limo: Straightaway, I assumed because from the signs that were being shown, we could tell this is likely poisoning case.
We just, uh, prepare some darts with the antidote and the anti- inflammatories, and we darted a few of them... [Pop] and, uh, we thought we on the right path.
They were doing fine.
Munene: I thought some of them would lose their sight, but they didn't.
Luckily, they were big.
They were big.
So, they survive.
They left Alan just not far, maybe 50 meters.
I knew all of them have eaten the same meal, but I think because Alan was so greedy, had eaten more.
He couldn't walk.
Limo: So we came back to the isolated young male Alan-- That was very bad shape.
Very bad shape.
So we said, "OK, let's try an antidote."
[Pop] [Grunts] We waited for 30 minutes.
We repeated the treatment.
And by then, over, uh, 2 hours, I think 2 or 3 hours, he had improve.
The one worry we had was, "Where is the other two babies?"
Where is Sienna?
Where is Bibi?
Where is Bibi?
Where is Sienna?
They have not been seen.
We were in denial.
We thought maybe...
They will reappear from some bushes.
[indistinct] from them somewhere.
Munene: The thing is to just to hope because the only thing is hope.
Manduka: We hope for the best.
We always hope for the best, yeah, but it ended up not being the best.
Munene: So, the next day, we found Bibi dead.
It was sad.
It was a sad day.
Even--I don't like thinking about that day.
Limo: Of all these lions, Bibi was my favorite.
When I talk about her, it is emotional.
This is a lioness that has lived here for a very long time, but we lost her.
Scott: There was something awfully poignant about the death of Bibi.
The heart had been ripped out of the Marsh Pride.
Sienna... Micheni: We could see some bloody patch on the grass, could tell that this must have been a lion that, uh, probably died here.
Thomsett: She's just been eaten, and there's nothing else left.
You know that the story hasn't ended there.
It isn't ever a local problem.
When you poison, it's always spread.
She would also be carrying huge amounts of, you know, poison.
Vultures will come down, eat a kilo literally within less than 10 minutes, and be off and gone downwind literally at 90 kilometers an hour.
If you got wings and you fly way out of the reserve, drop down dead there, you create another satellite explosion of deaths around where that happened.
It's sort of like a wave of deaths that all go out from that one sort of epicenter.
Just an aspirin-sized piece of, you know, Carbosulfan will kill many lions, you know, 50 to 100 vultures.
Now it was a catastrophe.
Munene: The same day we check on Alan.
[Growls] He, uh, was-- was still doing well.
Still doing well.
He was doing well.
We said, "OK," but we insisted on a-- the team on the ground, especially the rangers, keeping him constant observation-- Yeah.
There was a vehicle that was stationed there just to secure him from hyenas and even some-- Buffaloes.
[Sniffing] ♪ ♪ Munene: This morning, I found Alan injured and buffaloes were nearby.
Yesterday, I thought someone from the-- the Park Conservancy will--will take care of him and keep the hyenas or whoever might harm him away, but they didn't.
A young boy coming up to be another huge lion.
Now can't make it.
Munene: The rangers were to stay closer to him.
Maybe they didn't stay all night, or maybe they...they did.
I don't know.
Thomsett: The buffalo, I'm sure just saw him wandering through and they said, "Right.
This guy's obviously on his way out.
We're just gonna try and kill him."
They're trying to get rid of their major predator.
As a result, I don't know how he managed to survive.
He's as tough as anything.
Munene: When I saw Alan dragging himself under the car, I knew he was looking for refuge.
Having been beaten all night and now the stress of being surrounded by people, that made him even weaker.
Thomsett: We're--we're on the Musiari area.
We have the--the sick lion cub is right underneath our car.
OK, he's been beaten nearly to death by buffalo during the night.
That's why the vet needs to come, because he's absolutely been nearly bashed to death.
If we leave it, the hyenas will kill it within seconds.
Limo: Many people who were there, [indistinct].
They knew things are not good, but... you know, you've got something heavy-- It's a bigger problem.
on your shoulder, you know.
Yeah, it's--it--it was a very painful decision, but, um...we felt that that was only fair thing to do to him because he had suffered a lot, actually had seen everything.
He had seen it all, and we thought it's better to put him to rest.
♪ ♪ [Alan exhales] Woman: A third lion has died in Nairobi after a pride featured on the BBC wildlife program was allegedly poisoned by Maasai herdsmen.
The cub, known as Alan... Thomsett: Everybody seems to be standing around in slow motion.
You're angry at absolutely everybody and everything.
I mean, everybody was.
Kahumba: I remember Simon frantically trying to get my attention to this problem, and to raise it on an international platform, and I actually called the authorities.
And I warned them that if nothing is--nothing is done, this is going to hit global headlines.
In this case, what was different is these lions so famous that the government cannot ignore it anymore.
It's the first time anyone has ever been prosecuted in Kenya for poisoning lions.
So, in my mind, this is actually a signal that things are changing and they're changing for the better.
It felt like it was so momentous that maybe now the government would really lay down the law, that people would be arrested and charged and convicted, uh, that this would send a clear message across the country, but that didn't happen.
People were arrested, the case dragged on, people were released.
Kaelo: It's a sad thing, but it's a reality that happened, and we felt-- we felt betrayed because you know, these are lions that we had treasured in--in our culture.
And, you know, trying to win that community back to be able to support conservation as they did in the past, uh, is really a big task.
Kaelo: So, there was some, I would say, some community agreement that this should never happen again.
[Man speaking native language] Limo: They started understanding that the place of a lion in the Mara is critical and that, you know, nobody should be allowed to poison anymore.
And they learned a big lesson, but they stayed intact as a community.
We can only trust that it won't happen again.
[Man speaking native language] Scott: The human population is literally driving wildlife off the planet.
And we've got a choice here.
We've still got lions.
It's the most wonderful natural heritage for Kenya.
But we either think it's precious enough or we're gonna lose it, and right now, the signs are not looking good.
Manduka: That will be so hurting, one day to find there are no lions.
We are working so hard to ensure that the Marsh Pride survives.
Lions must keep their ground.
Looseyia: This is the small pocket of the world that lion exist.
There are not many.
There are very few.
I've seen lions growing in thousands to become hundreds in my lifetime, and I'm not old.
Kahumba: We have to engage our communities as modern Africans, not as traditional Africans of 50 years ago.
We have to rethink the way that we engage them.
It has to come from the people themselves on the ground.
There is right over there.
That's Yaya in the front.
Yaya's mother was Sienna.
When you see Yaya, you remember Sienna.
We like to see her, yeah, just seeing her, it brings a joy to our hearts.
We need Yaya... for the future, for the future of the Marsh Pride... for the future of the life of lions in Africa.
♪ ♪ ♪ Announcer: "Lion: The Rise and Fall of the Marsh Pride" is available on Amazon Prime video.
♪ ♪ ♪