The Tsalala pride never fail to impress me. As far as a group of lions go, they are remarkably successful, enduring and deadly. Instantly recognisable by the lioness with no tail (a result of a vicious encounter with a hyena) these lions dominate the northern expanse of Londolozi. Cunning and collected, their lethargic demeanour often gives away a false sense of apathy, yet nothing could be further from the truth….
Recently a sighting arose which created a buzz amongst the rangers and guests alike. Heading out to investigate I saw the first signs of activity instantly. Large imprints of a single paw print that gradually trickled into collective tracks of the rest of the lions. On and on they wound down the road towards Cheetah Pools Pan. When I arrived, carnage awaited – 4 dead wildebeest and a swollen pride that was collectively wheezing from the exasperation feeding. In one hunt, they had killed 3 adults and 1 calf which now lay strewn throughout the grass around them. This was no ordinary hunt, this was supreme virtuosity, and now they were reaping their rewards.
The larger picture that I initially wanted to paint on this extraordinary scene was one of ceaseless violence, killing and unnecessary greed. Instead I started to pay acknowledgement to the true mastery of this particular pride from whence it comes. However I could not find peace with either as the two sides were either black or white and yet neither point of view was absolutely correct. So instead I pose it to you. The bigger question is this: Is it greed or is it the opportunistic nature of the beast that takes more than is necessary? And if it is one rather than the other, then what lessons can we take from that?
Photographed by: Brett Wallington
Written and filmed by: Rich Laburn