Maasai Mara Game Reserve is mourning the oldest and iconic lion nicknamed “Olorpapit” who died of old age after a 16-years reign in the jungle.
According to the Chief Park Warden James Sindiyo, the patriarch had been weak for the past few years and his situation was worsened when he was attacked by younger territorial young lions a few weeks ago.
“It’s true we are celebrating the life of the iconic lion Olorpapit who has been ruling the Enkuiyani pride for the past 16 years. It died of old age on Wednesday evening at Olare Motorogi Conservancy. It was a celebrity lion that was a darling to tourists,” said Mr Sindiyo.
The Park Warden described the iconic male as the most dominant together with his younger brother “Orbanoti” who is also estimated to be aged around 14 years have been shuttling between Enkuiyani, Oldikdiki, Monika and Hamercop prides where their lineage is spread.
As soon as word went around that the famous lion had rested, hundreds of international tourists and wild cat lovers who had interacted with the lion poured their tributes.
Lucy Johnson, a veteran wildlife photographer who posted on a Facebook page known as the “Big Cats of Masai Mara” r said that the lion died peacefully and with dignity.
“With great sadness, one of the Masai Mara famous lion king, Lorpapit of Enkuiyai pride passed away this afternoon of old age at the border of Olare Motorogi Conservancy. He died in peace and dignity,” read her condolence message.
She said that since August, when his condition started worsening, it was brought to the attention of park management. He received treatment from vet and his condition was monitored closely by rangers of both reserve and conservancy.
“He passed away 300meters from rangers’ post, I reckon because he felt safe here, and in his last days, he was accompanied by his brother Olbarnoti,” said Ms Johnson.
She says she was there when the incident happened and had a chance to say goodbye to the magnificent lion, which she says, she has been following and photographing for the last 6 years.
“He was 16 years old that is a full life for a lion in the wild. Rest in Peace, my King!” she saluted.
Since August, his health had been dwindling as old age and weaknesses inhibited his natural way of life of hunting and surviving. In his last days, the patriarch was accompanied by his loyal, younger Olbanorti.
Had he been human, he would have been sent off in a state funeral befitting a king of his status and exploits.