It has been over a month since the floods that ripped through the area. It is only now that we are starting to truly understand the way that it may have changed the animal dynamics in the area.
I mentioned it some days ago when we spoke of the Tsalala Pride and how they appeared to have lost some members…sadly I am now sure of this. Since the flood this pride has been extremely scarce at Londolozi having been seen only six times in nearly four weeks. We are still unable to drive the top northeastern sections of the northern parts of their territory so there is the chance that they have been hiding out there.
Sadly on each of the four times they have been seen, it has been minus two of the one year old youngsters. So, as it stands the main core of the Tsalala Pride sits at five members:
Two Tsalala Sisters
Two one year olds (both females)
One six month old (female)
It is sad to think that a couple of months ago there were ten of them. Oh how nature seems so unfair! We will never be able to say with 100% certainty what the cause of the disappearance was, but it will go down in my books as them being washed away by the raging waters of the flooded Sand River. It just seems too much of a coincidence that we had tracks of the mothers trying to get the youngsters across and that immediately after the rains two went missing. So unless this pride can pull off another fairytale story, like they did when the five month old cub survived alone for five weeks, it seems they will have to push on as is.
In other Tsalala Pride news the Original Tailless Female appears to be moving between the two portions of the pride. Perhaps this newest knock to the Tsalala Pride may provide the Sisters with the reason to finally accept the Breakaway back into their pride. Maybe it is the case of the pride having to move one step back to move two steps forward.
So yes it is sad; nature has shown us yet again that she is brutal and that ‘fairness’ does not always seem to be abundant out here in the Lowveld. It does however, give us the fortunate chance to see first-hand how these extraordinary cats handle yet another hurdle that has been thrown their way.
The show must go on…
Written and photographed by Adam Bannister