Sad news out of Africa after it was reported that two lion brothers who ruled the Serengeti National Park were reportedly “assassinated” by younger lions in a coup attempt that apparently succeeded.
The two males were reportedly 12 years old at the time of their deaths. One of them was famously known as Bob Jr., in honor of Reggae singer Bob Marley. According to Fredy Shirima, a Serengeti conservation officer, the rivals who killed Bob Jr. wanted to overthrow him.
“These incidents normally happen when the head of a pride becomes old or sometimes when the other male lions are not happy with his control over a large territory,” Shirima told the BBC. “It is assumed his brother also met the same fate, but we are trying to confirm this.”
He added that the lions were assassinated at separate times but the killings seemed to be planned. While the one confirmed death was obviously sad news to fans of Bob, it was in all likelihood a natural occurrence that is common in the animal kingdom.
For seven years, Bob, who was also referred to as Snyggve, ruled the Serengeti National Park with his brother Tryggve. The close siblings reportedly captured the hearts of fans due to their photogenic natures.
Officials at the Serengeti National Park often shared pictures of the lions on their Instagram page, referring to them as kings and “The Lion King Brothers.”
“Did you know lion brothers peacefully share equal dominance, mating rights, and pride protection duties with no infighting among them?” the park’s social media person captioned one image.
Serengeti National Park is teeming with wildlife that includes leopards, buffalo, elephants, rhinos, and, naturally, the lion brothers, along with their mates and their young. Situated in the northern section of Tanzania, the park’s lion population is said to number more than 3,000.
Once word got out, conservationists, wildlife photographers, and some social media users took to the internet to voice their thoughts and offer condolences.