During the course of 2013 we watched curiously at the developments and changes in the pride dynamics within the borders of Londolozi. Particularly between the Tsalala pride, their existing members, new and old and the pressure being felt by the Mhangeni Pride and their 9 new youngsters. There was a time when Lion Warfare clogged up the blog. The intensity we felt and the ensuing battles kept us on our toes as Rangers and Trackers and Guests alike. I thought it would be fitting to give a brief update on the standing on the “pressured” Tsalala pride.
As it stands today, the Tsalala pride consists of 2 adults Lionesses, the younger tailless and the tailed female, their daughter, born February 2011 and the 4 new cubs, now aged approximately 7 months, old. This pride has been put under much pressure from there related breakaway pride, who are daughters of the adult Lionesses, and their now flourishing pride of 13 Lions. With such a big pride of healthy growing Lions, it is not surprising that the Mhangeni pride has been pushing the Tsalala pride into the corners of their lands and have forced them to return to old ways of avoidance rather than conflict.
The Mhangeni pride has been traveling around the land in search of prey as well as in search of land to take over, and they have done a great job. They have been noted to move throughout Marthly, North of our boundary, Sparta/Taylor, a small section of Sparta/Varty as well as West of our boundary. A Massive area to say the least. However, the Tsalala, even through this pressure, have managed to succeed. They have been able to look after their new cubs without fail and raise them to budding youngsters. Another important fact to note is that the February 2011 female has been accepted into the pride, and is now viewed with the pride on almost every occasion. It is believed that the Majingilane Males now see her as an asset in within the pride dynamic. She is reaching an age of sexual maturity and for this reason the males know that in the near future she could possible carry their blood line.
The 4 cubs of the Tsalala pride, who were denned in the Manyelethi river in July last year, belong to the tailed female. They spent much time in the Manyelethi, close to Sunrise crossing, then were moved to the rocky outcrops of Southern Cross koppies. At first it seemed as if the lionesses were not interested in raising them, as they have a past of neglecting some to some degree, however, the lionesses are certainly providing and this pride is beginning to flourish. There is currently some speculation that the tailless female may be heavily pregnant, and some of the most experienced trackers believe she may give birth soon. If all goes well , by mid-year this pride could see itself reaching close to 10 members with a young female approaching sexual maturity. If this is the case, and I speak with optimism, they are certainly going to be some changes once again. The Tsalala may well fight for their land back and force the Mhangeni pride back west to their, already established territory, where they may have to compete with the budding Ottawa pride and their new cubs as well as the competition coalition, the Selati Males.
One can see how these prides have large sections of overlapping territories. This could lead to some big changes if the Tsalala pride begins to grow.
Only time will tell though and speculation is always a great conversation starter. I hope this blog gets some minds racing and I look forward to some comments on your thoughts regarding the future of these prides.
Written and Photographed by: Mike Sutherland.