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.

Tailless Male Lions Jt

The three young males follow the Tailless female near the Manyelethi River. They were sniffing around fairly constantly, as this is the area in which the emaciated Tsalala cub was seen only a day or two before, and his scent was almost certainly still lingering.

Tsalala Cubs 2013 Jt

The males as cubs, circa Jan. 2014. I can’t say for sure which of these four are them and which is their sister (who is still alive and usually to be found with the Tailless female), but it’s amazing to see how much they’ve grown in the picture above.

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.

Tsalala Male Lions Jt 3

Bite marks are clearly visible on this male, who seemed to be in slightly worse condition than the other two.

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.

Tsalala Male Lions Jt 4

Although their size is nicely illustrated here next to Shaun D’Araujo’s Land Rover, the Tsalala males still have a way to go before they reach full size. Their skinny frames tell of some hard times.

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.

Filed under Featured Lions 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 ...

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on Tsalala Males Reunite with Tailless Female

Join the conversationJoin the conversation

Marinda Drake

The Tsalala pride confuse me James. Is the mother of the young male cub who is not looking good, the sister of these three males?

James Tyrrell

Hi Marinda,
No, the mother of the cub is the Tailless female.

Marinda Drake

Thank you James. Is it correct that all that is leftover of the Tsalala pride is the Tailless, a male cub, the three young males and their sister.

Kevin Savage

Yea tsalala! Yea elmon! Thank you.

Denise Vouri

It appears that male lions’ attempts to secure and rule territory is not unlike their human counterparts……. need I say more?!

James Tyrrell

Very similar!

Leo Pards

James don’t you think the Matimbas are an easy target for them? Some pressuring and roaring can get the better out them. They don’t look in great and stable condition despite recovering. And the Hairy Belly Male is suffering from a dislocated hip and his movements aren’t smooth but has been able to keep up with the other male.

Leo Pards

Someone from Inyati reserve mentioned the dark maned Matimba had problems roaring. He couldn’t roar properly and loudly, more like some growls. And the other Male roared loudly and clearly.. Do you think this is a negative news for Matimbas and could attract threat from other lions?

Also One of the Northern Matimba in Ngala had a similar problem. That Male couldn’t roar at all and died afterwards. It may well be a genetic fault after all.

Dawn Phillips

Thank you James, I am thrilled to hear that the tailless female is still doing well. She was the very first lion that I saw on my African adventure and she holds a special place in my heart. Hopefully she and her male nephews can feed and take care of each other, keeping safe. I look forward to the daily blogs, love the stories and the way they keep me as close as possible from far-off Canada.

Iren Juppa

Did they fight against the Birmingham boys.

James Tyrrell

We aren’t sure Iren. They would have had to move through their territory to get to where they were found though…

Callum Evans

I saw that they had been seen with the Tailless Lioness on the Malal Mala instagram feed, they’re looking impressive for four-year old males! It would definitely be very interesting to see if they try to settle on Londolozi. Either way, they could end up running into the Birmingham Males, which would be bad for them

Mike Ryan

Thanks James as you know I am a big fan of these updates please keep them coming

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