I just realised that we have not published a piece updating the latest developments with our beloved Tsalala Pride. Sadly, sometime during the month of May 2012, the last member of the May 29th 2011 litter of cubs disappeared. I was clinging to hope that this cub may still be alive and so never actually wrote about this loss. It has been over a month since the smallest member of the pride was seen and we have had to acknowledge and celebrate her short yet eventful life.
This was the last cub from the litter that was born on the 29th May 2011. This litter was mothered by the ‘New Tailless Female’ and was initially denned in the Manyeleti Riverbed near to the picturesque road called Makomsava. They were sired by the Majingilane Coalition. At just over a month of age these cubs were moved to the rocky outcrop of Marthly Pools. The make up of this grouping was 3 males and 1 female.
In early October 2011 two of the male cubs were killed in a buffalo stampede that caught them off guard. That left one little male and one little female!
Then came the story that broke all the hearts of the lion followers around the world. One of the most remarkable incidents, which I advise all interested readers to glance over.
To jog your memory it all occurred over Nov-Dec 2011. Hyenas attacked the Tsalala Pride biting the tail off of the one Sister. In the process she lost one of her cubs. At 5 months of age this male cub roamed around, alone for 5 weeks, throughout Londolozi. It was at this stage that an astounding turn of events meant that this cub was reunited with the pride. Sadly a few days later this ‘survivor’ was killed by the Scar-Nose Majingilane Male. A male lion believed to be his very father! This single event goes down in my books as the hardest ‘wildlife sighting’ of my career. The pain and emotion can be felt in this piece!
That tragic incident left the sole surviving member of this litter. A female with the heart of a warrior. This cub managed to stay alive for nearly half a year after this incident, but has now sadly disappeared. We will never know the cause of her death but she will forever be remembered as the female who fought so hard to make a living in a very turbulent time. She blessed us for exactly a year before being whisked away.
So now what? Well, back to the drawing board for the ‘New Tailless Female’! At ten years of age she will have to begin mating and start her 5th litter. Thus far, she has had 12 cubs in her lifetime…only 2 of these are still alive. A success rate of 17 % gives you a clear idea of the difficulties facing a mother lion.
Written by Adam Bannister