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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 Final Demise of the Majingilane

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Senior Digital Ranger

I will miss not seeing these guys around anymore. They were still in very good condition back in november. It amazes me how quickly animals deteriorate once age sets in

Hi Alessandro,
Yip, it was literally only a couple of months ago that they still looked great.

It is so sad to read this. It is an end to an era. The Magingilane was such a formidable coalition. We were priviliged to view them often when they were in their prime. It is sad to see them looking the way they do. It is part of life but still difficult to accept.

So sad but This was eventually going to happen .. Almost 8 Yrs of dominance and fathering numerous cubs. Their legacy will live on … Much Respect to this Coalition

Hi Michael,
Well said.

James I have just read your blog again that you posted 27 June last year about the Magingilane. Little did we know 10 months on they might not be around anymore.

Hi Marind,
Indeed, it came much sooner than we expected.

Another great article, but what a sad news. This is one of the most powerfull and successfull coalitions that I have ever seen. Somehow they will always be remembered, untill now, only beaten by father time. James, do you think that the BBoys will now take their prides? Wouldn’t that be too many territories to cover?

Hi Thiago,
I imagine the Birmingham males will move in, yes.
The Mhangeni females have already been coming west to mate with them, and it should be a simple matter for these males of taking over now-vacant territory.

Sad to see, I will never forget seeing these magnificent males crossing a river in the golden hour one afternoon on a game drive in Londolozi back in 2013. I’ve seen them just about each trip since too and always been in awe of them. They will leave an amazing legacy which it quite something in such a competitive area for lions, but old age gets us all in the end!

2013 would have been in their heyday Liam; must have been a magnificent sight!

Even though inevitable, still tragic and pitiful to watch….like the emaciated lioness not long ago.

Well written, James. Hopefully you guys run into Dark-maned also (& possibly Golden-maned) soon.

Thanks Gian.
Update on Dark-mane male coming out today.

Senior Digital Ranger

Not many of your blogs bring tears, but this surely does. The passing of a wonderful coalition of beautiful males. I feel extremely fortunate to have been able to follow their lives here and on the many FB pages that share their information. My two favorite coalitions are The Majingalane & The Matimbas. Both of these are passing into memory. But I am thankful they were here and shared their time with us.

Digital Ranger

James, This is the most emotional moment for me as far as the Magingilane male lions are concerned. I had seen them at very close quarters about two and half years back when they were in top condition. Scarnose was the second male lion i saw in wild and this sighting is firm in my memory.

It is difficult for me to see any Lion dying and this report of your is very disturbing but will overcome soon as I know very well, it is part of natural cycle. Maybe it’s my wishful thinking that both Dark mane and Scarnose join again but as you have mentioned earlier in blogs, the nature is unpredictable and springs a surprise many at times……look forward to know more about them, therefore please keep us updated and thanks a lot for sharing this news.

Hi Vaseem,
Absolutely. The dark-maned male was found in the deep south this morning. Update on him coming soon.

Hi Vaseem,
Sadly they are at completely opposite ends of the reserve, so I think it is very doubtful that they will meet up.
We will keep you posted.

Digital Ranger

Thanks very much James for keeping us (lion fans) updated about Magingelanes, really appreciate it.

In my opinion summer (when buffaloes and other preyes are strong ) has also played a key role in their demise

Hi Gabriele,
interesting thought; this may well have something to do with it!

It seems there won’t be an 8th year for these Lions. Their fall was quick, ironic because they lasted long by avoiding big conflicts in key spots. But now they don’t have the numbers that once was their calling card. Since they’ve never been good fighters in small numbers im afraid they will get picked off easily by rivals.

Ray in the stat they’re in it might not even come to them being picked off. They may just fade out sadly.

Beautifully said, none of escape time… no matter how strong, powerful, revered or loved..this is the lesson of the Sabi Sands and nature, thank you!

So so sad when make lion coalitions come to an end especially when theres an emotional attachment to them ..
It will be great though to see new blood and new males in their prime come into the territory soon new beginnings and I for one will look forward to reading about them …

How heartbreaking. We saw three of the males in January of this year, roaring and looking so much better than in the photo you posted. Who knew that in just three more months, the one with the missing canine would be no more and the others would also be well on their way out.

Hi Malavika.
We also enjoyed a sighting earlier this year in which three of them looked utterly magnificent.
The end came far sooner than we expected.

Digital Ranger

I am greatly grieved to see these wonderful males slip into oblivion. This was the first coalition I got to ‘know’ when I first started watching SafariLive. They were the lions we saw most often on Djuma (occasionally the Mapogos), and I’ve always loved them. Such magnificent big boys. I hate to see such glorious creatures getting thin and fading away. I and I like to think their preference would be to go out in a battle, whether with a buffalo or other lions. I know, anthropomorphizing. Needless to say, the Majingalane will live on in many people’s memories.

Hi Vicky,
Agreed, with countless thousands of photographs taken of them over the years, they will remain iconic.

I so enjoyed viewing these brothers in 2014. They were magnificent and still are to the bitter end. We watched the cubs of several of their females feeding on a zebra kill so I hope some of them grew up to carry on the legacy. So sad, but I do appreciate your posting.

Hi Lynn. We’ll monitor the situation as it continues, but I think they may be very close to the end.

The end of an era, for sure. My photo archives include wonderful images of them going back to 2010, the most exciting when Milton tracked them on foot and found all 4 together, calling Melvin & us to the sighting. What an experience! They will be gone but tales of them will be told for years….

Hi Mary Beth,
That’s a special memory – 4 together was an uncommon sight!

James, your thoughts, observations and knowledge of the Majingilane makes for a thought-provoking article. I’ve never seen this group, but have observed others of their ilk, and sadly age does come around….. limiting the ability to stay in charge and remain well fed. Again my heart is heavy as I don’t like to see animals such as Scarnose fade away into the sunset like this but perhaps like the Tsala female, he will find a safe place and his heart will cease to beat, ending a brilliant life and leaving behind a significant legacy.

Although quite aged I did not expect the three of them deteriorate so quickly. Having watched this mighty coalition since 2011 this is very sad to see.

Hi Deana,
Their decline was unexpectedly rapid! Very sad indeed!

James, Although not unexpected, we find the news very sad. Having gotten to know them while at Londolozi and through the 1000’s of photos we have taken of the Majingilanes, our memories of them in their prime will not be forgotten. Their rule was impressive and their lineage will carry on….

Hi Michael and Terri,
I remember one sighting with you in particular in which three of them were chasing some of the Tsalala females up and down and back and forth across from Pioneer Camp, and we literally didn’t know what was happening. All just confusion and roaring and running.
Pretty dramatic stuff.
They will be missed.

OMG, do we remember that! We were all worried that they were going to kill the young female and one of the adults (think it was Tailless) snuck her across the Sand River while the other female distracted the males! The Majingilanes had just reunited and we didn’t know which way to look! Lions everywhere! Great memory – thanks James!

I have a close up picture of scar nose’s face hanging in a prominent location in my office that I took in 2014. This is truly a sad story, but it is the circle of life. James, thank you for wonderful blog and keeping us all updated. It makes me feel like I am still there when I am able to read your blog and connect with the same animals that I observed even 4 years ago!

Hi David,
Thanks for the kind words.
More updates coming soon…

So very sad to see these regal animals look so weak! But just like humans, eventually time does us all in! I am sure it is heartbreaking to see this in person, especially if you have spent a lot of time with this coalition. Life goes on as it has before and long after this formidable team is all gone. Thanks for the photos and story, James.

Hi Darlene,
It is sad to see. But we can be glad that they’ve had an incredible run of it!

We had an amazing experience with this coalition and the larger pride the day before Christmas 2017 thanks to the good folks at Dulini, especially Dinamosi and Issac. Scar Nose and Dark Mane left large impressions on my soul when they looked directly into my eyes. You could see the freedom, the power, the age, the experience in both of them. Thanks for the update on these magnificent animals.

Hi Nick,
you’re welcome.
The Dark Maned male was seen yesterday and is also skeletal sadly.
It won’t be long now.

Hi James.
So where are the golden mane and dark mane my mate. Please

Digital Ranger

He looks so thin! Our elderly cat went that way too. All you could feel when you stroked him,(which he liked) was fur covering bone. He disappeared one night and despite searching, we could not find his body. I suppose some fox ate him when they found him dead in a hedge somewhere. Shame but he lived until nearly 19. Many a vole or mouse died by his stealthy hunting!

Oh no. I kept saying that their time would soon be up, but I didn’t expect it to happen so early on in the year. Now seeing these pictures of Scar Nose, I honestly cannot believe he is the same majestic male from the rangers past photographs. And now Golden Mane is dead and Dark Mane is apperently emaciated too?! It’s happening very fast, a lot to take in.

Hi Callum,
We’ll be running a post on the Dark Maned male today, he’s also not looking great.

I cannot believe that their reign is ending. They have defied all of the textbooks about male lion coalitions, in terms of tenure, coalition and territory size.

I really wanted to visit Londolozi to see the Majingilane before they passed, but now that’ll never happen. My heart goes out to all of you at Londolozi, I imagine this must be very hard.

Hi James, a sad moment, again, tailed lioness, Moyas cub, Salayexe ( at EP) and many more the last 10 months, but that is the life in the wildlife. We had the privilege to see Mapogos first years at EP and then the Maijingis moved in to Sabi Sand and we enjoyd them many times, fantastic lions, did they come from Kruger or from the north? Greetings from Finland

Senior Digital Ranger

Oh my gosh what a sad blog this is!! The Majingi’s have been a favourite of mine for years as I can recognise them easily 🙂 The pictures speak for themselves, it is just a matter of time before he succumbs to a predator or just gives up! Thank you James for always posting on their health & whereabouts. Nature’s cycle of life

I am just so amazed at the lives that I get to follow through you blogs. The pictures of each animal make it all so real and I grow close to theses animals from so far away. I am very saddened by this news I read today. The picture of this majestic creature is so heart wrenching. I would like to say farewell to last 2 lions the great Maginglane’ s and only hope that there suffering is short lived. I believe that God takes animals in his hands as well and that these boys will again join together.

It’s been about a year or so now that I have been getting your daily blogs, and I belong to a number of Facebook lion groups, one of which is the Majingilane. I’ve never had the pleasure of seeing them in person but by following them has given me joy. It saddens me that Scar Nose has now passed on, but it comforts me knowing that his legacy will go on. My dream is to one day come to Africa to see all the amazing animals, and experience the Awaking that was just recently written about. If I could live out the remainder of my life in Africa what a remarkable life that would be.

Does anyone know what coalition replaced the majingilane lions?

Frank in the west it is the Matimba males and in the wast the Birmingham coalition.

The Majingilane Lions had a rather graceful end to their rule. Their rule has naturally run its course. They have not so much succumbed to old age, as to the fact that they were very successful as a coalition of 4, and still successful as a coalition of 3. They were not so successful as coalition of less than 3. Having been ousted as rulers of a territory. they are not eating well, due to not having female pride members to hunt for them. That’s why you see the physical decline. The Mapogos, on the other hand, fell during their prime, or just at the very beginning of their decline. Their rule had not naturally run its course. Kinky Tail and Mr T were extremely successful as a coalition of 2. Either Kinky Tail or Mr. T could have easily killed any of the Majingilanes, in a one on one. Either Kinky Tail or Mr. T could have survived a fight with any two of the Majingilanes. That’s because both Kinky Tail and Mr T were braver, stronger, and better fighters than any of the Majingilanes. Kinky Tail’s mistake was trying to take on 4 majingilanes by himself. All his previous victories led to fatal overconfidence. The Majingilane had a good sense of who they were. They knew their strength was in their coalition. They were not exceptional lions individually. On the other hand, Kinky Tail and Mr. T were exceptional individuals, and as a coalition, it would have been very difficult for even 4 Majingilanes to topple them.

I have two questions:

1) How old they were?

2) With them sadly gone, who is gonna take the power over their territories and prides?

Senior Digital Ranger

We “met” this lion back in June of 2011. He stopped in front of our truck and roared so loud I swear the truck shook. It was an amazing sighting

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