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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 End of an Era: Tailless Lioness Dies

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o wow, what a tribute, once again great writing James. Very sad news indeed but like you said, never give up hope with the one female still around…. thank you for the updates.

It is sad that the Tsalalas are no more. Even more so the tailless females. It is the end of an era. Is the young female all on her own or is she in the company of her three brothers? Will she be able to hunt for herself and survive or even join another pride? Will she roam with her brothers?

Sad time but we must celebrate her life as a wild and free lion. So many don’t get the privilege


Beautiful tribute James to such an amazing lioness she was such a pride leader great mother , aunt , sister she’s going to be truly missed.

It was a privilege to have spent time with her and her mother. So many stories about how she knew when to protect her young.

i am so saddened to read of her death- may she run wild and free with her mother from heaven above.

It’s a beautiful tribute to such an amazing lioness. She will be missed and my hope is that her daughter can carry on the legacy of this once competent and impressive pride. After 8 years of living with these amazing animals, I truly understand your feelings of loss, knowing that you will never see the tailless lioness padding along those roads and paths, bringing excitement and joy to rangers and guests alike. From my little bastion here in Northern California, I will raise a toast to this brave lioness, and hope that I may see her progeny when I visit next year.

Very moving. She did the job, bestowed on her by nature, wonderfully.

Senior Digital Ranger

Thank you James for a fitting farewell to my favorite lioness.. She and her mother were amazing. I can only hope that maybe the brothers can re-establish a pride with their sister. I know it is not what is considered ideal, but for one generation it shouldn’t hurt the genetics.. The Tailless spent so much time keeping these ‘last of the Tsalala’ safe for those years they wandered the bush, it would be a shame for it to end this way. Again thank you for the blog and I will give a toast to a wonderfully long and fruitful life of a truly wild & free lioness.

James, I just love the way you continue to share and involve us in the journey of each of these individual majestic animals. Your blogs invoke a daily reminder of the incredible and valuable wealth of beauty in our country and continent, and bring the sights, sounds and smells of the wild into our office board-rooms and homes. It is a privilege to feel part of the family. Thank you.

James, Thanks for the beautiful remembrance of the Tailess. We feel so fortunate to have spent so much time with her and the rest of that pride. We remember our last sighting of her and her niece was at Marthly Pools (with Nick Kleer) when she patiently hid while her niece unsuccessfully tried to surprise a big herd of Imapala at the water. She was clearly teaching one of the next generation the patience needed to have success in hunting! We will remember her and the rest of that pride through the 100’s of images we have of them and hope to see a bright future for the Tsalala’s that remain!

A very emotional story. Her remarkable history, told in Londolozi blogs gone by is the story that motivated my passion for lions and her in particular. When I arrived at the Londolozi airstrip – picked up by Alistar – he asked if there was anything in that we really wanted to see while there, I excitedly answered ‘the tailless lion’. In an almost unbelievable hit of luck, 10 minutes into our first safari – there she was – with her sister and the cubs feeding on a male kudu. We watched them for most of the morning – eating, drinking at the river. She captured my heart. I was dreading this day and this report, although very well written. I too share in your grief at her passing. However it is gratifying to know that she will always live on in your stories, our photos and memories.

What a wonderful tribute to a beautiful lioness. We are all born to die, but hopefully live each day we have. It sounds like the Tailless lioness did just that. RIP!

Master Tracker

I was going through my photos of my tri[ to Londolozi earlier today and there was the tailless lioness. Sad to hear of her passing, I guess that as nature abhors a vacuum (other than in the ethics of politicians) another pride will move in.

What a lovely tribute, James. We’ve so enjoyed spending time with her – and her mother – and appreciated her protective, mothering skills. I hope the 3 brothers and their sister can find a way forward.

It was a pleasure to read so many captivating stories about this amazing lioness over the years & an excellent, though sad, tribute to finish.

I join with the others in appreciating your tribute while also mourning the inevitable loss of the Tailess from her injuries. I salute her and hope that somehow the line will continue with the one female and three males remaining. Thank you James for keeping us abreast of the heartbeat of the bush in Londolozi….it’s become a part of our every day life.

So sad and yet I think of the beautiful life she lived. What is the latest on her cub? I may have missed an earlier update.

I am honored to have gotten to see this lion last year. I had read about her before my visit, and really wanted to see her in person. She was so beautiful, seeing her right next to our vehicle was even better than I had imagined! I am so saddened to hear of her death, but happy that her descendants are still roaming Londolozi. This was a lovely tribute!

Digital Ranger

I raise my glass to amazing lioness. When my husband and I visited last May we had the honor of seeing the tailless lion and her mother with their cubs. What honor! I am sad to hear she succumbed to her injuries. However lets hope the last of the Tsalala lioness can persevere thru and bring some cubs into the world and build a pride again. Fingers Crossed.

Beautifully said, thank you! She is being remembered around the world. ?
The end of an era, a true “patroness” in the lion kingdom.

Poor lioness!
Though I am glad that she does not have to suffer any longer.
These animals are so amazing.

An unforgettable lioness. Thank you for telling this story.

Fantastic tribute,James it was such a privledge to be able to see the Tsalala and witness them up close for so many years but sad news indeed!

Senior Digital Ranger

Two weeks ago after dark I watched her get a drink before crossing the Sand River in one of many memorable sightings at Londolozi. It was only a day or two after that when reports were posted here of the Tailess female’s injuries. Feel fortunate to have crossed paths multiple times with the Tsalala pride at Londolozi. My first visit in 2016 I was mesmerized watching the pride on a buffalo kill one day. The next morning we found a Tsalala female with two 3 month old cubs on a kudu kill near Ximpalala koppe and then the following morning tracked the two Matimba males (father of the cubs) back to the kudu kill with cubs and mother still present. I’ve traveled the globe in search of amazing wildlife sightings from Alaska to Africa, from Antarctica to the Arctic and these sightings along with an amazing sighting of the Mashaba female leopard and her yearling cub feeding on an impala carcass in a tree made my 2016 visit to Londolozi the most incredible wildlife experience I’ve ever had. I was surprised. Not the Masai Mara, nor the Serengeti, nor the Okavango could compare. I returned to a Londolozi a few weeks ago to see if my first visit was a fluke…just a stroke of good luck. It wasn’t. You shouldn’t be able to enter the African bush with any expectations. It isn’t a zoo and should be spontaneous, but if you are fortunate enough to visit Londolozi, prepare to have your every expectation exceeded. A truly amazing place. The Tsalala tailess female was a part of that place and she will be missed. And yet the band plays on.

Hi Phil,
Brilliantly said! Thanks for your kind words.
Planned the return visit yet?

Senior Digital Ranger

Ha ha. No. Traveling to Southern Africa from The a States isn’t cheap and there’s a lot of world out there. That said, I have little doubt I’ll be back some time in the next few years.

I’m not crying <3

What a heartfelt tribute, James. We got to watch her and her daughter cross the river. What a confidant beauty she was, striding through the water like she owned the river.

Halfway across the world I too felt very sad at the news of the passing of this great iconic lioness, one that I have read so much about from your blogs. She certainly has left her mark and earned her place among Londolozi’s legendary big cats. When I read about her injuries interwoven with the remarkable similarities she shared with …. was it her mother or sister ? I couldn’t help but wonder about nature and what it all means, but I guess we never will know. It will be so interesting to follow the unfolding course of the young ones lives that are left behind and I hope that they do surprise you all.

What an incredible piece of writing. My heart ached as I read your blog and the tears rolled down my face. The animal kingdom is one of which so many beings can learn from. Such a powerful part of the circle ⭕️ f life. Beautiful?❤️

So beautifully written <3

So sad to hear and amazing that the death of this lioness reaches so far. I know those at Londolozi will surely miss her.

So sorry to hear the sad news. Encounters with her have always been special. I will not forget for the rest of my life the evening we saw her again lying beside the road on our way to a Bush dinner. We stopped the truck not far away from her, enjoying to observe her during one of those spectacular Londolozi evenings. It was then that she started calling on other members of her pride. Her roaring made the entire Land Rover vibrate. Just writing about it and reliving it gives me goosebumps because it was such a magical moment. One of many that brought my wife and I back to Londolozi several times. Thank you for the memories.

Senior Digital Ranger

Tears of sadness, and thankfulness for the life and legacy belongs to her.

Hello James, I heard about the deadly lioness’s death today. Poor thing, what a pity, how old was she? What injuries did she have, what was it? She was not treated for wounds? It’s a shame. And your sister also died of what?

A beautiful tribute. This year seems to have been especially tragic for the Lions of Londolozi.

Your graceful tribute brought tears to my eyes. She is a great loss, indeed. Thank you!

So sad to hear the news of the Tailless Lioness’s death! Just curious, when her body was found do you bury her or is just left ther?

So sad to hear the news of the news of Tsalalas Tailless Lioness’s death! Just curious when she was found do you bury her or just her there?

I was lucky enough to see her on a number of occasions in Northern Sabi Sands September 2016. She was in very good nick and definitely in control of the 4 other remaining pride members. When she said time to move they listened. Even though only a pride of 5 they were specialist buffalo hunters and I’m sure she led the way on these hunts. Very impressive when you sometimes see prides of 10 struggle to take down a large buffalo. Too bad we can’t add pictures to our comments as I have some lovely photo’s of this legend!

Thanks very much for your comments everyone. Apologies for not replying to everyone individually but I have been away from the lodge with limited internet access.
Although we mourn the passing of this lion, it is truly heartwarming to know how many people’s lives she touched. A huge thank you to everyone for expressing their heartfelt sentiments on this forum.
Best regards,

A legend of Londolozi for sure

Can you teach me who is her father, Sir?

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