Anthropomorphism is something I tend to disagree with. The attributing of human characteristics to an animal just doesn’t fit in my mind, as who are we to say that a lion is confident, simply because he is walking down a road, or a leopard is proud, because he happens to look fairly regal?
Anyway, that’s a discussion for another day.
What I don’t mind is making a comparison. Saying that one thing reminds you of something else is absolutely fine, because it doesn’t define the first thing. Make sense?
I’m saying all this to tee up the fact that the young Tsalala males look just like they’re varsity students who are having a tough time in the big bad world, and have come home for a little R & R.
They were seen a couple of days ago on Mala Mala with their aunt, the Tailless lioness, and then were found this morning by ranger Shaun D’Araujo and tracker Elmon Mhlongo in northern Londolozi. The Tailless female was vocalizing consistently, we are sure for the young lioness who was absent from the pride, but also possibly for her male cub, who was seen in very poor condition yesterday, and sadly didn’t look like it’s going to make it.
The three young males are, thankfully, still together and all in one piece, although it certainly looks like they’ve had a couple of run-ins with other lions. Bite marks on the flanks and spine of one of them in particular are very indicative of the type of damage that would be sustained in a fight with another lion, although hyenas can’t be ruled out as the culprits.
The males are just over 4 years old now (they were born in late 2013 to the recently deceased Tailed female) so are almost certainly still too young to challenge for territory. Having said that, the Avoca males were causing all sorts of trouble for the Mathispiri males at this time last year, and they were about the same age then as the Tsalala males are now, if not slightly younger. Granted the Mathsipiri males were only a coalition of two, and one of them was injured. The Tsalala males, should they wish to remain in the area, would be forced to challenge the four-strong, in-their-prime Birmingham males, the outcome of which I can almost guarantee would not go the Tsalala’s way.
The Matimba males have moved into the west, and three new males from the Avoca pride have apparently moved into the northern reaches of the Sabi Sand Reserve. At the moment then, the prospects for the Tsalala males aren’t all that great. Which may well explain why they have sought temporary refuge in northern Londolozi, an area currently unoccupied by a dominant coalition, and where their aunt would be accepting of their presence.
Chances are they won’t be around for long, but these offspring of the Majingilane, should they survive another year, at least have the numbers on their side to vie for prime territory. It may well not be on Londolozi, but as long as it’s somewhere, I imagine that’s good enough for them.