Fate has not been kind to the Tsalala pride.

One only has to follow the trials and tribulations of these remarkable lions over the last few years to see that things have not always been easy for them.

I suppose life is never easy for any lions, but when you consider the apparent ease with which the Mhangeni pride has raised cubs, and how the Ntsevu females were seemingly gifted a territory and then a powerful coalition of four males, the Tsalala pride just seems to have drawn the short straw every time.

With what we thought could prove to be a nail in the coffin of the pride, the old Tailed female died earlier this year. Discussing the fate of what remained of the Tsalala lions, and given the fact that she was the Tailless female’s sister, the general consensus was that it was unlikely that the Tailless female would see this year through.

And now, in a situation heaped with ironies, it seems that that potentially doom-laden prophecy may be fulfilled.

The Tailless female was found this morning at Marthly Pools, the unofficial home of the Tsalala pride. Bleeding from multiple wounds on her flanks and hindquarters, she was walking agonisingly slowly, and seemed to be struggling to climb even the gentlest of slopes onto some large rocks.

Tsalala Tailless Lioness Jt 2

As we watched, she slowly walked into a thick reed bed and lay down next to a dense spikethorn thicket.

Exactly where she lay was the site at which her mother’s body – the original Tailless female – was discovered, after a suspected run-in with the Mhangeni pride, her granddaughters.
In an incredible twist of fate, we believe that the current Tailless female’s injuries were sustained under the teeth and claws of the Ntsevu lionesses; her granddaughters! It’s almost a carbon copy of the situation of 2013.

Tracks nearby told of where the rest of the Tsalala pride had walked, but they had been found a good couple of kilometres away. “Pride” is probably a misnomer, as the grouping were the three Tsalala males and their sister, essentially the entire Tailed female’s litter from late 2013.

The males by all rights should be nomadic, yet have returned to their native Londolozi. The lioness is of reproductive age, but as yet has not showed any signs of falling pregnant. On her shoulders, it can be said, rest squarely the future of the Tsalala pride name.

Tsalala Male Lions Jt

The Tsalala males are probably too young to challenge for territory, Their futures will most likely be determined by the surrounding coalitions.

If one looks at the condition of the Tailed lioness from earlier this year when we wrote of her demise, the Tailless female is in much better shape. However, the extent of her injuries will seriously impede her in keeping up with the pride, and she will be unlikely to be able to hunt for herself. The rate at which a lion can recover from injury decreases rapidly in its final years, and recovery itself is almost a direct result of the amount of nutrition received, which the body needs in order to heal itself. With her lifeline of food suddenly in jeopardy, Freddy Ngobeni’s statement from this morning, “This is the end of Tsalala”, may sadly turn out to be true.

We will monitor her situation going forward.

Filed under 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 Tailless Lioness Badly Injured

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Joanne Wadsworth

Very sad state of affairs.

Marinda Drake

This is so sad. I do hope she recovers and that the youngsters survive.

Marinda Drake

Just read Tom’s blog again about the old tailless. It is a sad situation.

Denise Vouri

The continuing saga of the Tsalala pride….. hating to see any animal injured, I hope that she can obtain enough food to heal her wounds or at the worst, she slips away with dignity.

Mina Karidi

Dear rangers I have been following your updates and with great interest and lots of agony in some cases. Especially the Tsalala pride story. I have been saving for 1 year to be able to visit you. I want to beg you for just once please leave some food for the injured lioness. Help her survive! I know about your policy. I read about it every time. But please as an animal welfare volunteer in my country Greece, do something merciful for once. Can you????

Ian Hall

They seem to have drawn a very, very short straw.

Judy Hayden

Oh this is sad news. She looks distressed. Lets pray that the Heaven’s will shine some luck her way and she will remain with us. I will be watching for updates on her status. I worry from afar, and hope for good news.
Thanks James

Iris Lane

I suppose it would not be correct to leave her some food nearby? Poor female lioness! Where are her children when she needs them!

Susan Strauss

Saying prayers for my girl.

Dan Deherder

This news makes me so incredibly sad. The tailless lioness was the first lion that I saw at Londolozi and I will always remember the time I was gifted to have spent with her. Still holding out hope for a recovery…

Ididy Makovich

Too sad for the tailess lioness… i really liked how its life simulated the history of the original tailess lioness.

Malavika Gupta

It appears that 2018 is not a good year for the iconic lionesses and lions of Londolozi. First the Majingilanes and now the Tailless, who looked just majestic only earlier this year.

Ginger Brucker

It is hard not to feel sadness watching this decline. You describe the challenge of aging, and inability to hunt for self-let alone be attacked by your own family members! Are their any species on Londolozi where elderly are supported by others in a pride, herd, etc. as they age?

James Tyrrell

Hi Ginger,
In social groups, older individuals might rely on the rest of the group but only to a point. Once they start imperilling the health of the others they are often left behind. It’s a harsh life in the bush!

Amanda Raithatha

Had some amazing viewings of the Tsalala pride and the tailless lioness back in 2015 and again, with her 2 cubs, in 2017. I will be sad to see her go. Please keep us posted. Anyone know what happened to her remaining cub? He looked well at beginning of May.

James Tyrrell

Hi Amanda,
He was seen in very poor condition just about the time the Tsalala males returned. Either they killed him or he died of malnutrition.

Mauricia Neeley

Have always rooted for this gal. To have fled the Matimba’s alone with her sister’s 4 cubs & raise them all to independence was an amazing feat. Her life in many ways a carbon copy of her mother’s. Hopefully she will recover and have a couple more years. only time will tell.

Samantha Hamilton

This is SO sad! This is also the ONE time that I sincerely hope Freddy is wrong! She is a formidable lioness and I have had the privilege of seeing her many times. Even nearly had her in the front seat with Richard 1 and Rich Burman! She has always surprised and hopefully this will be another time she does just that!

James Tyrrell

Hi Sam,
She’s had amazing resilience before, but when they get old, lions struggle more and more to come back from injury. I also hope Freddy is wrong!

Laura Eberly

So sad, it’s an end of an Era. Thank you for following her, she truly is a “force of nature” an inspiration in so many ways…

Pamela Foster

Having last been to Kruger area game lodges in the mid-80’s I follow your communications with great interest and pleasure [I have long lived in the US and age no longer permits me to travel. So please continue sending.

Callum Evans

Oh no! I wonder if she bumped into the Mhangeni or the Ntsevu lionesses, or maybe even the Birmingham Males? This year has definitely not been kind to some of Londolozi’s most well-known lions

Mj Bradley

I was hoping not to hear this news.. It brings tears to know that this legendary pride will come to an end. I hope if her time has come that she can move gently into that good night. I do hope the sons of the Tsalala can find a place to call home. Maybe even give new life to the pride through their sister. I know it isn’t ideal but I think it would be wonderful in this circumstance. Thank you for the update.

Christa Blessing

I love all your blogs and stories. Some of them, like this one, are make me feel so emotional and sad, others, like the one on the ostrich family make me fell really happy. Thank you all for all of them! Sadly, I cannot constantly travel to Londolozi or other beautiful safari places, so these blogs are a good way to take kind of part in the wonderful, though often a bit tragic/ sad life in the bush. I do hope that this poor lioness will recover from her bad wounds and survive for some more time.

Iren Juppa

Oh my God! The same scenario as her mother in August 2013? And her son was so beautiful. ♥ ♥

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