She was discovered in a heap by the hyena den. One of the young Tsalala lionesses was badly beaten up, bleeding and drifting in and out of consciousness. Barely able to stand, she would muster a growl only when the six hyenas surrounded her. A kilometer away, her three sisters lay out in the open on the airstrip having run from the violent encounter the previous night. The tail-less Tsalala female was nowhere to be found after having been spotted at Taylors crossing 4 days prior. The two elderly females of the pride were similarly missing in action which no tracks and signs to signal their presence. On the other side of the Sand River in southern Marthly, the young male from the Tsalala pride was once again roaming by himself. Fragmented, beaten and lean from the winter months, what was once a formidable pride of lions, is now struggling to regroup.
For those who have been following our Lion Warfare series, you can appreciated the shifting dynamics that have taken place over the last 4 months. With no stability, the Tsalala pride has submerged and surfaced periodically, looking less and less formidable on each occasion. Having once been a supreme hunting unit, the pride has suffered owing to new males disrupting the leadership from the experienced females; being fragmented; having to fend for themselves as well as a chapter of incredible misfortune in 2010. One needs to look at the video below to understand the severity of this chance encounter that took place between this female and the clan of hyenas.
As of this morning the young lioness has not been seen since. We have not found the body however it seems fair to assume she is no longer alive. Her injuries were severe and with a clan of hyenas watching here movements, there is little chance the she did not die. What is beginning to resonate with me now is observing how the effects of a territorial takeover cause indirect havoc. With new males come new territories and a whole new playing field. Although the Majingilane Males were not involved in this incident, the steady disintegration of the Tsalala pride is undoubtedly because of these new males arriving into Londolozi and the rest of the eastern Sabi Sands. I would be interested to hear your thoughts on what other knock on effects have come about as a result of this Lion Warfare, in the meantime we continue to observe with sadness and respect….