It’s been 6 months or so since The Majingilane Males arrived in Marthly and overturned the proverbial apple cart.
Male lion takeovers invariably have disastrous effects on lion prides as new territories are drawn and cubs with previous bloodlines are dispatched.
The Tsalala Pride haven’t escaped this. One of their pride males was eaten, the other returning to the safety of his brothers in the west (and doesn’t look to be coming back any time soon.) Of the 8 cubs that the 3 Tsalala lionesses were raising only 4 sub-adult females remain and the pride has split.
The two young Tsalala mothers have seemingly abandoned their role as caregivers to their previous litter and have mated with the Majingilane males. They are both in a heavy and late stage of pregnancy, and given that they weren’t together this morning possibly one of the females has given birth already.
The Tail-less female meanwhile, in a role that she has been accustomed to throughout her life, is a single mother again. Diligently she is nurturing the 4 youngsters through to adulthood. She has had to hide her cubs in her own backyard from new males in the past and appears to be getting away with it again.
Behaviour like this should in theory be referenced somewhere or obvious to the keen observer. The Tsalala Pride are, however, raising more questions than answers and opinion is divided as to what exactly is happening.
Most rangers and trackers agree that the notion of the pride having split as a defence mechanism is a little too lofty. You can’t completely rule out the possibility of the oldest female taking charge of the youngsters while the two other females buy her time through occupying the new males attentions, but then you credit lions with more intelligence than most people are willing to.
A more plausible theory is that the two younger Tsalala Females, 8 years old and still without any successful offspring, have recognized a lost cause for what it is and abandoned ship. They skipped the theoretical 6 month period where they mate with the new males fruitlessly in order to bond them to the pride and the new area, making sure that by the time they do conceive the males are still around. Rather they found the new males in the territory, mated and are now seeking out potential dens.
Occasionally they run into the remnant of the pride but these meetings have become increasingly unusual and more hostile.
Exactly how things pan out for the Tsalala Pride will be a game of wait and see. It’s sure to be riveting and to that end we’ll try and keep you updated on the blog. Sometimes we’ll have to remind ourselves that it’s their drama and not ours!
Written by: Tom Imrie
Filmed by: Steven Foreman