It played out like a scene from a Walt Disney movie…the Lion King has nothing on the current drama that is unfolding for the beloved Tsalala Pride. Tragic events in the last few days whittled them down to 8 and then a Majingilane moment of madness threw yet another spanner in the works.
The Tsalala Sisters killed yet another buffalo and were happily feeding with their 6 cubs when the 4 Majingilane Males arrived on the scene. I am still confused about what followed…2 of the males started chasing down the sisters and their cubs as they fled at great speed. The chase was long and heated at times. Why was there so much aggression between the sisters, their cubs and the cub’s fathers?
Eventually the Tsalala 8 managed to hide away in the Sand River just in front of Pioneer Camp seeking refuge in the Wild Date Palms. No one was sure how this scene would unfold…and no one saw it either. That night there was a huge amount of commotion and calling as the 4 Majingilane Males came through the Sand River and into camp. Tracks the following morning suggested that they had located the pride and had chased them yet again!
The trackers did their bit and tracked down the pride finding them the following morning hiding away in the Manyeleti Riverbed. James Tyrrell announced on the radio that one of the older cubs was missing! Collectively the Ranging team’s hearts sunk.
That afternoon rangers and trackers managed to again track down the pride and sadly there was still one cub missing. We began to fear the worst! Why would the Majingilane kill one of their own cubs?
This morning we left at dawn determined to see what had progressed throughout the night. Within a short period of time we had found the 2 Tsalala Sisters as they were searching the area around Pioneer Camp… then came the first Disney moment; out of nowhere the ‘missing’ cub came out from the bushes! We could see the excitement as she embraced her mom after spending the last 48 hours alone. You could sense the relief in the guiding team as it was announced on the airwaves that Majingilnes had not claimed yet another life. Then came the second Disney moment…the sisters led the female cub back to the area they had stashed away their precious cargo. The lions reunited and there was jubilation all round. Half an hour of playing and running around. Lion cubs playing everywhere. You can clearly see how important the social bonds are to lions as you watch them brush up and groom each other. We could not have scripted a better ending to the morning drive. The saga for the Tsalala Pride continues…
Written, filmed and photographed by Adam Bannister