12-06-2021 by Freddie del Curatolo
He left as a real King.
Without anyone ever overpowering him, without hyenas or jackals nearby.
Scarface, the oldest and legendary lion of the Masai Mara, in all probability the most famous and celebrated of all Kenya, has left his savannah and a void in the hearts of the thousands of fans, tourists and photographers who met him on safari.
Scarface, to whose dark face with a deep scar under one eye owes the nickname that refers to the famous character played by Al Pacino, was over 15 years old, living therefore beyond the average of his peers. Not only for this reason, for a long time, of the 900 lions estimated in the Masai Mara reserve, he was the one most respected and "sought after" by the targets.
From a young age, Scarface with his three brothers Morani, Sikio and Hunter represented the coalition of the "Mosketiers", feared by all the animals in over 300 square kilometers of area for their tenacity, bravado and ferocity.
Along with one of his siblings, at just 4 years old he became the King of Marsh Pride, the herd that became popular for a docu-series aired on the BBC.
Since then, the battles of the iconic Mara lion have been many, and each one has left more visible marks on his spectacular and expressive muzzle. In addition to battles to gain the best females and give birth to cubs, legend has it that he escaped the spear of a Maasai shepherd and bore the scars after being treated by the reserve's vets.
In 2016, the four musketeers also conquered another "pride," Paradise, and since then they have dominated the territories between the Malaika and Ashnil lodges along the Mara River.
In 2019 the death of his brother Hunter, the musketeers remained in 3 and Scarface slowly began to lose weight and limp, a sign of old age of a life as a king lived to the fullest.
It was the Mara Predator Program, on its social pages, to announce his passing.
"Scarface has taken his last breath - write the Mara conservationists - he died in peace without any disturbance from vehicles or hyenas. We were the only ones watching over him hoping to offer him any comfort. The Mara has lost another of its great, iconic lion males. May his legend be passed on forever!"
Even for operators, enthusiasts and savanna experts who already knew of his condition, it was still a great sorrow.
"He was the lion I loved the most and that always, every time, when I was at the Maasai Mara, I looked for with my eyes under every bush to see once again - says Massimo Vallarin, one of the Italian Honorary Wardens in Kenya - it was a great honor to spend time with him to photograph him. He was already a legend and now he will be one forever".
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