The beauty of a digital archive is that within a few short clicks you can be reviewing events from way back when, either comparing past with present and trying to draw meaningful conclusions, or simply just reflecting.

Going back 3 years and 364 days (that’s one day short of a round 4 years, for those less in tune with the Gregorian calendar), the post on our blog from the 19th May shows some pictures of two tiny furry faces peering out of the long grass; cubs of what was then the Tsalala Breakaway pride, being taken to their first kill by their mother.

Lucien Beaumont’s find. The first sighting of two cubs that would grow up to become part of the Ntsevu Pride.

I remember the day clearly. Ranger Lucien Beaumont and tracker James Siwela had found the lioness and radioed the sighting in, and, as is standard procedure when viewing very young cubs, had kept the sighting to one vehicle, to give the cubs a chance to get used to the Land Rovers.

The movements of those young Tsalala Breakaway females, daughters of the mighty Mapogo, had been erratic for awhile, as at least two of them were suspected of giving birth and the four lionesses had been split up as a result.

Despite indications that at least one and possibly two of the females had previously birthed a litter but lost it, this find by Lucien and James was the first established sighting of Tsalala Breakaway cubs on Londolozi soil.

Over the next few weeks the lioness would regularly leave her litter in the rocky drainage line known as Mhangeni Donga, and it was this denning behaviour of hers that led to the renaming of the four lionesses as the Mhangeni Pride.

The Mhangeni Pride’s first viewable cubs cross the Sand River with their mother.

Zooming ahead to today, and again we have a Tsalala Breakaway pride, also with a litter of two.

The two cubs from the latest version of the Tsalala Breakaway Pride. Photograph by Alistair Smith

The lioness from the 2013 post was either a daughter or a niece of the (current) Tailless female, while today it is the Tailless female herself that has the litter.

Interestingly enough, none of the lions from the 2013 post are currently in a pride bearing the same name as the one they were part of back then.

The two cubs have grown up and now form part of the Ntsevu Pride.

Their mother, as mentioned above, is now part of what is known as the Mhangeni pride, and the Tailless female, while then part of the core Tsalala Pride, is now part of the newest generation of Tsalala Breakaways.

Things change, and none more so than within the lion population.

I wonder when we look back in 2021 what shifts will have taken place between now and then…

Filed under Wildlife

About the Author

James Tyrrell

Photographic Guide/Media Team

James had hardly touched a camera when he came to Londolozi, but his writing skills were well developed, and he was quickly snapped up by the Londolozi blog team as a result. An environment rich in photographers helped him develop the photographic skills ...

View James's profile


on Throwback Thursday: Different Tsalala Breakaway Cubs

Join the conversationJoin the conversation

Wendy Hawkins

Wonderful! Let them grow up big & strong 🙂

Marshall D. Hoffman

Where is the last part of this article? It stops after “I wonder when we look back in 2021 what shifts will have taken place between now and then…”

James Tyrrell

Hi Marshall,
We’ll have to wait until 2021 (year, not time of day) to see how things turn out…

Jill Larone

Great update, James! Having seen these small cubs back in 2013, I’m so happy to see that they survived and are doing well! Hopefully, the next 4 years will go as well for them.


Nice blog James. The lion dynamics are like soap operas. Very interesting to see how they all play out. The tail less lioness is such a magnificent beast and great she has cubs. Nice to hear that the cubs are surviving and hopefully they will live a full and productive life. Thanks very much.

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