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Adam Bannister

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Ranger at Londolozi Game Reserve

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on Tsalala Lion Cub killed by Majingilane Male Lions

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Chris O'Neil
Member

Mapogos have killed their own cubs of a few occasions. It never makes sense when these things happen.

Callie Barrow
Member
Guest

A sad loss for Londolozi. It makes me wonder….. how many of these killings happen when people are NOT around to witness them?? Many, I’m sure!

Peter
Member
Guest

Hi Adam, thank you very much for this write up. Terrible news that the young “hero” finally fall victim to those supposed to protect him. The youngster has certainly deserved better!
There are numerous cases of cubs sired by the Mapogos being killed by the Mapogos. After the Mohawk Male (Mr.T) returned to the Western Sector after being ousted by the Majingilanes, he killed not less than 14-17 cubs within one year from one specific pride (Ximungwe). All those cubs have been sired by his coalition partners. Obviously he killed all cubs from the females he has not mated with. The striking point was his coalition partners basically never tried to protect their offspring against the attacks from one out of their ranks. Is bonding between males stronger than bonding of fathers and their offspring in lion society. To the relationship of the Mohawk Male to the other Mapogos is the following. Mohawk is the brother of Kinky Tail. He is related to 3 other Mapogos, hence the youngest of the Mapogos (we can assume that in the early days of the coaltion he was together with Kinky Tail the lowest ranking member in the coalition). Mohawk is unrelated to the oldest of the Mapogos, who was excepted into the natal pride as a young male. It would be interesting to understand the relations of the Majingilanes though.
I think we should assume that not all Majingilanes were involved in the mating with the Tsalalas. Very intersting the Hip Scar did not participate in the chase. Is he the father of the cubs? Are the Tsalalas at ease with Hip Scar?
Another thing I have witnessed in lion society is the following. I believe that male lions do know very well with which females they have mated. Usually they except all cubs born by those females esp. if there is a strong bonding between the male and the females. In all cases with more than one pride male a single male cannot be sure that the cubs have been sired by himself as the females tend to mate with all males to achieve max security for their cubs. And females mate with “outsider” males she meets during oestrus. If the bonding is not that strong, well lets say the males remain skeptical. Here comes an example. One day in June 2008 the 2 Mapogos (Mohawk and Kinky Tail) killed a buff on Djuma property. Both males were joined by 5 Styx females and their 9 three month old cubs. The females had contact with the males before and some mating was witnessed, but their pride male was the lone Rollercoaster Male and it is believed he was the father of all those cubs (or the 2 large Nkuhuma Males at least some of the females have mated with as well). No aggression was witnessed on the kill in the beginning. Then the 2 Mapogos went for a drink to a near waterhole, when they returned the females fiercely attacked them. From that day onwards the 2 Mapogos tried to kill all those cubs and they killed 5 of them over time. Quite obviously female behavior is playing a role when it comes to infanticide, esp. if the bonding level is low. And it seems the females do know very well who the fathers are of their cubs.
It might well be that only one or two of the Majingilanes are the fathers of the Tsalala cubs, not sure if the Tsalalas ever met all Majingilanes together before the cubs were born and obviously the bonding level between the Tsalalas and the Majingilanes is rather low. I think the hostile behavior of the Tsalala females triggers the aggression of the males towards the cubs. This could mean all those cubs are in danger moving forward.

Adam Bannister
Guest contributor

Very interesting comments Peter. I must say that I agree with you that the females reactions to the males to a large extent determines the males relationship with the cubs. Who knows…maybe the result would have been different had the Tsalalas not been so aggressive and tried to fight off or run away from these males in the last few weeks? All of this is truly fascinating to the understanding of wild lion behaviour. I feel that now more then ever we are starting to put some really interesting behavioral pieces together.

David Dampier
Member
Guest

Peter, I think your assessment is pretty much spot on. i don’t think there is any one explanation, but rather a combination of factors. The Tsalala Pride have always been very wary of the Majingilane coalition, particularly if there has been more than one of them together, and they have been chased by them on numerous occasions. I think we also need to remember that male lions are testosterone fueled, built to fight and kill, and act more on instinct than a logical, planned out thought process-as a result, incidents like this are bound to happen from time to time which seem illogical to us.

Geri Potter
Member
Guest

Can you assume then, or speculate, that ‘Scar Hip’ is a ‘lesser’ member in the coalition then, and would not protect any of his offspring if attacked by one or more of the more dominant males? (Is Scar Hip the male from the video last week that was not allowed to approach when the other 2 males were feeding?) Also, this doesn’t bode well for the other lone male cub of the sister’s litter.

Such sad news. I know it’s nature, but it is tough to witness such brutality. Glad he had some final days with his family.

Liz
Member
Guest

How deeply sad I am to learn of the death of this brave young soul, who survived despite the odds stacked against him. Another lesson in the survival of the fittest. Mapogos have killed their cubs as Chris mentioned – guess we will never know why. Maybe in the long run this little chap has been spared a long and hard struggle to adulthood. 🙁

Patrik H.
Member
Guest

Dear Adam,

Being a fan of the Majingilanes, this is a bitter pill.
First, just a question: talking about the one with the golden mane, do you mean the one with a tooth missing, and with scattered scars on his face ?

I think that DarkMane is the father of the Styx cubs, and HipScar could very well be the father of the Tsalalas. Don’t the Tsalalas go up a lot into Elephant Plains and Simbambili ? HipScar was sighted quite some times there, while the 2 blondes have been sighted less there.

The Majingilanes for sure have their hands full with four prides. I just hope that everyone gets his share, that’s why I asked earlier on also which male is mostly seen with which pride. If one is not happy or always being bullied by his partners when it comes to mating rights, then the same might happen as what happened with Mr.T and the Mapogos and the Ximunghes. As they have four prides though, the chances are good that everyone may have his own activity field and his preferred females. Does anyone know by chance which male spends most of the time, if any, with the Fourways pride ?

As you are/were seeing the Tsalalas a lot, did you observe the Tsalalas being particularly at ease with one specific male’ during the past months ?

What intrigues me is the attitude of the Tsalalas. Are they not happy with the marriage ? Are they not happy with the time the Majingilanes spend with them ? Did they eye other males while the Majingilanes were absent ? Do they feel that the Majingilanes have a lot of work with other prides and don’t spend sufficient time with the Tsalalas? (These are “human” questions, but maybe lion society is not that different than ours sometimes…).

Peter mentioned some good points in female behavior. By being overprotective, the males could interpret it that way that some other males may be the cubs’ fathers and thus their reaction. It could mean that all cubs are in danger now. Let’s hope this is not the case.

Syl
Member
Guest

Such a sad turn of events.
Many good points have been made. There’s always been tension between the Tsalalas & Majingilanes. Just the other day in the lion group we were having a deep discussion on Majingilanes vs Mapogos being good/bad fathers.
I think the writing has been on the wall for this to happen…you could see it building in just the last 2 wks.
Here’s a recap of their interactions.

17th December
3 Majingilane male lions off House Clearing Rd
Tsalala Pride (2 lionesses and 3 cubs) off Ronnies Dam (pride was chased and separated by Majingilane)
18th December
3 Majingilane male lions off Matsikitsog (killed a hyena)
Tsalala pride off Plaque Rd (3 female cubs still missing)
21st December
2 Majingilane male lions on Elmon’s Kraal
Tsalala Pride on Tsalala Rd (fought with Majingilane in evening)
26th December
4 Majingilane male lions off Sable Boma Clearing
Tsalala pride off Ronnies/Airstrip West (chased that night by Majingilane, 1 cub killed)

R.I.P. little one…you’ll always be that brave little hero who fought the odds all alone. I’m so sorry your life has been cut short this way.

Juan Jose Rubio Coque
Member
Guest

Hi Adam: I have got one question. Are these Tsalalass lionesses daugther of the Mapogos?
I think it is interesting to raise the question if the Majingis are all of them brothers or not. As Chris Harvey and Peter Kat state in their book “Prides. The lions of Moremi” as coalitions gets larger the likelyhood that any particular male to reproduce gets smaller. If the 4 Majingis are not brothers this could explain this behaviour, since the defence of cubs sired by males not directly related is a waste of energy.

Adam Bannister
Member
Guest

Juan if you are refering to the two Tsalala Sisters then the answer is no! They were born when the Mapogo were barely two years old so that is not possible. There is in fact no chance that Mapogo blood is in any of the lions alive in this portion of the Tsalala Pride. The four sub-adult lionesses from the Breakaway Tsalala Pride are Mapogo blood but they have not returned back to the main Tsalala Pride!

Wodaj
Member
Guest

Adam: Please give updates on the lions (male and female) which made to adult hood from mapogo blood. Did mapogos manage to pass on their genes to the next generation? Can we identify them in the prides in the Sabi sands? Are there adult males which are from Mapogo blood?

Mika
Member
Guest

Hello

This is very sad for the Tsalala pride. i got a question why would Hip Scar walk away from his coalition members. and the last few days the connenction between Tsalala and the Majigilane were not good maybe they wanted to show that they still were the bosses around. R.i.P little one

Adam Bannister
Member
Guest

The Tsalala Majingilane connection has never been great. I am not sure why Hip Scar did not join in. I do know that i have footage of hip scar mating with the tsalala female though. In terms of dominance I have said it before and will say it again, I truly dont think that we can with any certainty assign top status to any one of the four. Experience shows that they chop and change. It appears to be situation dependent.

Linda
Member
Guest

Adam, just wondering if BB (original tailless female) is included when you say the Tsalala pride or it is just the two older Tsalala females? And if not, have you seen or heard of BB lately? Thanks.

David Dampier
Member
Guest

Hi Linda
Yes, the original Tailless Female has been spending the majority of her time back with the main pride and was present on the night in question.

Adam Bannister
Member
Guest

Linda, BB (aka Tailless Female) appears to have permanently joint back with her daughters; The Tsalala Sisters. Whenever we see the pride she is 9 times out of 10 with them.

Michael Klauber
Member
Guest

The circle of life is truly sad sometimes. I agree – this little one deserved better. I was so looking forward to seeing him grow up!

gloria
Member
Guest

My heart breaks for this brave cub R.I.P little Tsala You were a brave one

Sue Edmunds
Member
Guest

Farewell brave boy. It’s sad to hear about these type of events when to us they seem to have no reason.

Peter
Member
Guest

Not sure if this piece of information has ever been shared here on this blog. Concerning the relationship of the Majingilane Males the following can be said: there have been born north of Sabi Sands, not in the Manyeleti Reserve but probably in adjacent northern (Orpen) or eastern areas of the KNP. When they arrived in the Manyeleti they were with one older adult female, either separated from her pride or a lone survivor of a pride. There is no evidence whether they are all brothers (rather unlikely but possible) or pride mates, most likely they are related. There are still people who believe it were 6 young males, but based on the information shared by Manyeleti Rangers I believe it were 5 young males with the older female. Towards mid of 2009 the older female was fatally injured by a buffalo and passed away. Since that time the males started their nomadic life and were occasionally seen in the northern Sabi Sands soon after. They stayed rather low profile for quite some time, before they one day in June 2010 decided to stop running and took the territory from the 2 Mapogos.

Rich Laburn
Head of Digital

Thanks for that fascinating history Peter. Is there a resource where you are able to share any more information with us? Rich

Kk
Member
Guest

I wonder if this is just a dispute between the prides. Before the Sparta lions mated with the Majingilanes, it appeared the Tsalala lions had full protection of the males. The males even chased them away. But once the Sparta lionesses mated and it must have been a marathon session with 5 lionesses’ and four males , perhaps the male are now taking “sides” in the territorial disputes? Perhaps the males are siding with the Sparta pride as almost all of them must have mated with lionessess?

Elisabeth Douglas
Member
Guest

What a tragic ending of the brave Tsalala Pride cub. Now it is very important to write the story of this amazing Tsalala pride and what they have gone through in 2011 and earlier. We wish you luck Adam and all the best for 2012 to everyone at Londolozi. We hope to back soon.

Iren Juppa
Member

Richard Millar – Manyeleti reserve:
Majingilane’s males : 5 young males that grew up here and moved to Sabi Sands when their mom died.

http://www.richardmillarphotography.com/?p=407

Murtaza
Member
Guest

I know I’m posting to an older article, but I would love to read on where the Mighty Majingilane were born, to which pride, etc. This website link doesn’t seem to work.

Penny Parker
Member
Guest

Wow this does seem so so fascinating. I have never heard of this kind of infanticide before, usually only males killing cubs that are not their own. Perhaps the brave cub that went missing now seemed foreign upon returning? And additionally, as a result of being weak, was singled out. Such sad news – but as always, a wonderful way to learn about the ever changing interactions between lions. Thanks for a lovely post. My thoughts are with the pride.

Rich Laburn
Head of Digital

I think your theory could be very plausible Penny, although perhaps not because it was necessarily weak but because it had been missing from the pride for so long. rich

Penny Parker
Member
Guest

Thank you so much for the response Rich.

Tim
Member
Guest

It is so sad that the young male cub was killed by his own pride members.What was Golden mane and dark mane doing while this cub was being killed by scar?

Tim Musumba
Member
Guest

This is the very first time that i am coming across this article of this young Tsalala male cub who had survived 5 weeks on his own.Very sad news indeed.It is indeed strange that a lion would kill his offspring.But then again how different is it from Mr.T who also killed cubs sired by their coalition on a certain occasion!Infanticide is natural but this behavior is weird.Even if it was Scarnose brother’s that mated with the pride apart from him aren’t the genes not from the same lineage.Scarnose kills the cub and Dark mane and Golden mane just watch without putting putting up a fight is one thing i dont understand!

Tim Musumba
Member
Guest

Sorry i have just realized that this is not the first time i came across this story.I have just recalled.But all the same this was terrible.

Ginny Race
Member
Guest

It is very sad, I don’t understand why the females did not protect him from the males, like they did with Solo, as someone said maybe it was because he was weak, it would have taken along time for him to get his strength back and be able to keep up with the pride.

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