Lion Warfare: Tailless Female and the Tsalala Five
Rangers, trackers and guests have always had a soft spot for the Tailless Female. Her story is one of bravery and courage. The fact that she has no tail makes her so distinct looking that it is impossible to not recognise her instantly. About twelve moons ago she broke away from the Tsalala sisters, taking with her the 4 surviving youngsters from their 2008/2009 litter. They formed the Breakaway Tsalala 5 Pride and they moved off north and west of Londolozi in an attempt to get away from the onslaught of the Majingilane Coalition.It was sad to see them go but regular updates from neighbouring lodges confirmed their well-being.
When they split away I was hoping that Tailless was just ensuring the 4 female youngsters reached maturity and then that she would bring them back to the remaining Tsalala Pride, based in the Marthly area. I had images of a great reunion and the formation of a super pride! I am no longer sure this is going to be the case…
In the interim the 2 Tsalala Sisters have each given birth to four cubs all fathered by the Majingilane Males. This means that the Tsalala Pride is now sitting at ten; whilst the other Tsalala Pride sits at 5. The important thing is that all the 5 are females and thus the potential for more cubs and pride growth is huge. The big issue revolves around which coalition of males will father cubs with the Tsalala 5. My dreams ‘of a great Tsalala reunion’ may well have come to fruition if it were only the Majingilanes on the scene…but sadly that is not the case. The 6 Matimba Males are looking at moving south from the Manyeleti Reserve and are seemingly looking to control the area in which the Tsalala 5 operate. From here it is easy to complete the dots…the two portions of the Tsalala Pride are potentially going to be ‘governed’ by two coalitions! This means that the breakaway may be permanent.
The other day we had Tailless and the 4 females move back into Sparta for the first time in a very long time! They stuck around for the day, patrolling their old hunting grounds, before returning back north of our boundary. The question is why did they come down this way? Why was the Tailless Female also bearing a couple of cuts and grazes? Is she again trying to prevent a head on collision with a new coalition, this time the Matimbas? We don’t know the answers to this arrival but it was very special to watch the legendary Tailless lead her small pride through Londolozi again!
Time will tell how this latest saga will pan out…
Below you will see from our archives a video recorded by Rich Laburn back in 2009 of the Tailless Female and her youngsters feeding and drinking!
Written, filmed and photographed by Adam Bannister