It is just over two months since Amy Attenborough wrote a post on the Tsalala Young males, exploring their past, current status and possible future.
Speculation will always be rife when looking at the future of young male lions, yet it seems that the Tsalala Young males are already in trouble.
The Sabi Sands at the moment is a hotbed of male lion activity. Coalitions are roaming the area, some of them established, some of them not, but the territorial lines are very blurry at the moment, and just when we think we have seen the last of certain individuals, up they pop again.
It has been a few months since the Styx males featured prominently on Londolozi. Moving in after their fathers, the Majingilane, vacated the territory, they seemed to be on to a good thing until the arrival of the Fourways males. This next pair of males would also prove to be transient, as the Matshipiri males arrived and seem to have established themselves relatively firmly for now.
The three coalitions were all in and around Londolozi over the course of six months, but luckily for the Tsalala pride, generally stayed a few kilometres to the south of our section of Sand River, away from Tsalala pride territory. The Tsalala pride, and their young males in particular, were keeping under the radar. Seen in company with the Majingilane on one or two occasions, they have been essentially without a dominant male(s) for a long time now, and it is possible that this honeymoon period in the wake of Majingilane control is drawing to a close.
The young males in the pride will necessarily bear the brunt of the trouble that is coming their way.
Going back to what I said earlier, about how male lions are popping up where we least expect them, the Styx males, it seems, are back! Chased by the Majingilane a few weeks ago (one of the Styx males ran right through camp at 6am!), they have regrouped and have been hovering around the fringes of Tsalala territory.
Exactly what took place a few days ago we will reveal in the next ten days, but suffice it to say the Tsalala pride, whose history is littered with drama, having been having a turbulent time of late. They were seen south of the Maxabene River near its confluence with the Sand River for the first time that I can remember (this is way outside their normal territory), and the lionesses have been doing all they can to keep the young ones ahead of the Styx – and other male – threat. Confirmed reports are that the pride actually left Londolozi, trailed a herd of buffalo all the way into the Kruger Park, then returned back to Londolozi the same night! That is a huge distance for a pride to cover!
I’d be interested to hear opinions on what might happen, but for now it is very evident that the young males are too young to survive on their own. The pride needs to stick together for at least another 6 months for the young males have a chance. Will they be able to do it? It’s anyone’s guess. Personally I doubt it, but these things are seldom easy to predict accurately.
Written and Photographed by James Tyrrell, Londolozi Ranger