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James Tyrrell


James had hardly touched a camera when he came to Londolozi, but his writing skills that complemented his Honours degree in Zoology meant that he was quickly snapped up by the Londolozi blog team. An environment rich in photographers helped him develop the ...

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on The Ending of an Era: Tsalala Lioness Dying

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Beautiful sentiment, James.

Oh Janes. I feel so sad now. It is so difficult to see a favourite animal go.

I feel so sad… I hope a new era of cubs will arrive.. so cute…

What beautiful words, for a beautiful lady. Thank you for that James. If she could talk, imagine the things that she could tell you. I hope that the other predators leave her be & let her pass peacefully. She will be sadly missed by everyone who she touched. I’ll say bye for now sweetheart & see you again in my dreams ???
Once again, thank you James

Beautiful story. It is heartbreaking to hear, but she was a true legend of a lioness.

Dear James,
your (always) thoughtful writing keeps the Londolozi experiences alive (for me it has been 10 years) and I remember seeing the Tsalala lioness when I was guided by Bennet and Alfie… I don’t believe, after all my Safari experiences across Africa, that it is a bad thing to get attached to specific animals, as it brings us closer to the realisation that we are all part of this amazing world that we need to share with them. (although humans do a particularly bad job in the sharing, I must add…)
Please, please keep writing your wonderful blogs as it is a joy to stay connected with your beautiful world and your broad and long experience makes it all the more memorable and interesting.
Thank you! Jan-Erik

I think it is sad that they always seem to die alone. 15 years you would think that one of the other lionesses would be with her knowing how close Pride’s are.

I would be very surprised if anyone could distance themselves from any wildlife especially being with them day in and day out and really why would you want to. The joy they bring you outweighs the hurt and sadness when they leave.

Michael and I are returning for our 3rd visit to Londolozi for our wedding anniversary and my birthday. Am so excited and just cannot wait to be there.

Hard to see the old lioness in such a sad state.

That is so sad. I really thought that the two prides would rejoin. The Tailed female looks in terrible condition, I’ve only seen one other photo that showed a lionese in that kind og condition and that was an old lioness in the Kalahari with porcupine quills in her legs! I’m really sad that it’s the end of an era. I suppose all prides have a natural lifespan, just like their members do.

Very sad to see the poor condition of this lioness. I hope her passing is swift and peaceful

Hi there everyone. We have never physically been to Londolozi but we have for some time now looked forward each day to the articles on the people and animals at Londolozi. Nearly ALL my screensavers come from the lovely photos we receive. We are just so very sorry to hear about the dear old Tsalala lioness and see the latest sad picture of her. We just pray she went peacefully. What a story she has! What a legacy she has left. Wendy and Neil

Heartbreaking to see. Bless her heart. Thank you for sharing with us.

I am so sorry for the loss of Tsalala lioness dying…. she will cross the Rainbow Bridge peacefully. We have lost 4 of our big cats in the past few months so I know your sadness. Chuffs & Hugs.

That was a beautiful eulogy for her James, down to the last word, Londolozi is very lucky to have you..

This absolutely breaks my heart. Thank you for this tribute.

Digital Ranger

Oh this makes me so sad James. We got to see this amazing lion in May 2017 and reveled in how beautiful she was. It gives me great solace that she will die a natural death. Will her sister try to go back to the tailless pride in order to survive? Please keep us informed. Thank you for all your blogs.

I know that death is inevitable, especially in the bush…..but this just breaks my heart! I can’t imagine how you must feel James watching her for so many years. The image if her emaciated made me gasp and my heart hurt even though she’s lead a full 15 year life. I can understand why detachment helps…..sometimes.

Digital Ranger

He needs some food! Very sad.

It is always so sad when some familiar animal has to leave us, whether in the wild or a pet. They are all creatures who we love. Getting emotional is quite normal I think. I hope that she has been able to go in peace.

Hey I just started following lions and fell in love with them. I’ve learned so much reading old blogs on here thanks for all your hard work.

Just so beautifully written. What an amazing legacy both her and her mom leave behind. Thank you for sharing. Xxx

Beautifully written, James, and so heartbreaking to see how thin she is and that this beautiful, legendary Lioness is reaching the end of her journey. I feel such sadness, so I can only imagine how painful it must be for you, and the entire Londolozi family, to see the end drawing near for this beautiful lady. We will certainly not forget her.

Digital Ranger

Well there you go, you made me cry at work. So sad. Even though you know to expect that anything could happen at any time, for these wonderful creatures to live to old age is a miracle and a testament to their abilities. As much as we dislike it, time marches on. Enjoy every moment while we can, and take wonderful memories with us. She, like others, will live on in our hearts and minds.

I will miss seeing her.

Senior Digital Ranger

Oh my gosh this is sad & so beautifully written James, thank you for showing us pictures of her over the years. Rest peacefully beautiful lioness.

Senior Digital Ranger

I am heartbroken. We knew this was coming soon, but it doesn’t make it any easier. What a history this pride has written.. I can only hope that maybe the Tailless lioness can join with a younger group so her last cub has a chance of surviving. Thank you for the blog and I wish her a swift and peaceful journey.

Beautifully written,this is the essence of life, of Africa.
Thank you!

I am so sad to hear that this incredible lioness, that I have had the privilege to see in many sightings over the years, kills, cubs and everything in between. She is somewhat of a legend and I adored her little stubby tail. Whilst sad, I am pleased she is going in a non violent way….lets hope to her permanent and peaceful home.

Feeling great sadness at the inevitable demise of this beautiful proud lioness for all that she has given to her kind. Thank you for the tribute James.

So beautiful, James. Brought tears to my eyes.

Digital Ranger

watching lions fading away is the hardest part for any wildlife or a an ardent lion lover…..may her end come soon and peacefully too…., thanks James for sharing the information about this incredible lioness

Poignant words. May this amazing girl go peacefully. Thank you for your compassion, and prose.

Thank you for the moving and heartfelt comments everyone.
We are indeed losing an incredible lioness, whose impact on many people’s lives cannot be understated.
We will be putting out a photographic tribute to her over the next few days.
Warm wishes to all,

Sensitive and poignant tribute. Thank you, James.

Well James, I read your beautiful tribute for the lovely lionessTsalala and it’s taken me a day to digest your words before replying.

First of all caring about any animal whether it be wild or tame is not a bad thing. In my limited African bush experience, I have been introduced to many special animal sightings and as a result have become attached to a young leopard, Monzo. I contact my guide for updates and have a stunning portrait of him on my wall. I care and caring is not bad.

I was shocked by the photo of the painfully thin Tsalala, perhaps days away from her taking her last breath, yet remember that this is the natural way of death for animals who have lived out their lives. She’s had a great life, accompanied by her sister and other friends, cubs and has certainly left a legacy behind at Londolozi.

Your prose is befitting for such a beautiful lioness, moving me to tears, but no one lives forever as I have to remind myself. We all have a limited time on this planet and so need to do our part in making it habitable for all, supporting each other whether we be of the human or animal variety.

I know you’ll let us know when the end comes for her and I hope you’ll post some of her beautiful pictures.

Is there a specific reason she is in such bad shape or is it just old age? It’s interesting Tailless who is the same age as her seems to be OK even though she has the added responsibility of feeding a cub too.
I have sen this Lioness on numerous occasions. Her and the formidable Tsalala pride will forever be remembered fondly.

Hi Dipti,
It could be a combination of a number of things, but old age is probably the main cause that sets the decline in motion. A lack of food will take its toll faster, she won’t recover from injuries as well, and any other debilitating factor will simply make the decline snowball.
Best regards,

Thank you for sharing all the realities of the Londolozi bush. Although sad, the way you explain seems like a natural lifespan. There is beauty in the way you describe her coming home. I hope she rests peacefully until she crosses over.

Hi Irene,
Sadly it is the reality out here. She’s still hanging in there for now but we don’t think it will be long…

James, Beautifully written. We will remember all the great sightings with her and hope for a continuation of the lineage….

Hi Terri and Michael,
You would have had some amazing sightings with her.I still remember one in which they were all drinking at a pan in the north, and another (I think on your third trip) in which we found them just as the pride had crossed in from north of our boundary.
Some fond memories…

Well written James, I know it could not have been easy to put in to words. BB’s two girls have been a true legend over the years. Even back when they would take Solo and head off hiding from the Mapogos when they were begnning their takeover. So sad to see her in such shape, even tho we know times like this happen. Tsalala/Marthly Pride has been one iconic pride to research their history and follow them over all these years.

Hi Karen,
They certainly have been iconic. Now that the 4-year-old has been mating with the Birmingham males, there is hope for the next generation…

Omg, how sad. I am in tears for our friend, and thank her for all she taught me.

I’ve been reading your blog for about 6 ~ 7 months and besides reading about the Piva Male’s demise this story broke my heart. I haven’t been to Londolozi or Africa for that matter but when I get your blogs everyday and read about all the animals it makes me feel part of the experiences that all of you have. This breaks my heart but I know that she will live on in all our thoughts, she will be in the grandest place ever, the place where all animals that pass go, the Rainbow Bridge, she will be young again. RIP sweet lioness, you now lay in the arms of the angels.

What a difference a year makes. So many lovely memories of her and also her mother a few years back. So sad but I hope the mating of the lioness from the 2013 litter with the Birmingham yields some cubs.

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