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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 Lion Update: Lots of Question Marks

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Thank you for the update James. It is quite confusing to try and keep up with the prides and coalitions moving around.

Great insight. Looking forward to watching the TSALA boys do a hostile takeover in the next few years.

I’ve heard of lionesses joining other prides in other parts of Africa. Does that ever happen in that region? I’m wondering if the Tsalala female will be alone the rest of her life or if there’s a possibility she may join another pride.

Hi Chelsea,
It could certainly happen here as well. See my reply to Joanne…

Best regards

Majestic males. I really look forward to this every morning!! (I’m in New York.) Wish I knew which pride we saw during our visit. I do regret not having seen the Tsalala males. We searched, but they alluded us. They are so very beautiful.

It certainly seems to be a fluid situation as the prides move north/south or east/west. I suspect the amount of available food in addition to members of the opposite sex would also be a draw. I’ve taken to worrying about the lone Tsalala lioness- how long can she exist without the support of other females, especially when hunting?
As usual your blog is informative and interesting.

Thank you James for the update. For sure the lion dynamic is undetermined at this time. I am so worried about that lonely little lioness, I hope something positive happens for her soon.

James – thanks for the update and your wonderful photographic blogs!!! Yes I believe that the Birmingham’s are the fathers of the two prides you mentioned (Nkahuma and Styx prides). They are regulars on Safari Live.

Thanks Randall

Hi James. Thank you for the update. What I have to say is that acompanying the lion and leopard dynamics in Londolozi is akin to read a good novel. I follow some Facebook pages where people are concerned that the Mangheni sub-adults had developed mange. Can you confirm this?

Hi Norberto,
I haven’t seen them for a few weeks myself so cannot confirm or deny.
Mange is caused by a mite which I believe most big cats carry to a certain degree anyway; the extent to which it establishes itself is generally dependant on the animal’s general condition. Since the Mhangeni subs have been struggling for awhile (lack of food, stressed etc.) it certainly wouldn’t be difficult to presume that the mites would be able to take better hold.
We have seen minor cases displaying in healthy leopard cubs before, which have healed very quickly, so I wouldn’t stress too much. I think the other dangers the pride is facing are probably more immediately threatening to their well-being, and should they make it out of the woods we would hopefully see an improvement in their general condition.
I know that stressed lions in poor condition often take on a scruffy appearance, and scars from fighting and tufts of missing fur can certainly look like mange, but I haven’t heard any of the Londolozi rangers reporting a case.

Best regards.

Nothing to do James, but wait with patience. It will be exciting when things do shift! Meanwhile, I remain concerned about the Tsalala female wandering around alone. I know she hunts and still appears well, but this seemingly can’t go on and on. So tell me James, would other females allow her in or a male pride include her for mating? Or is the general tendency to kill her? I fully realize that no one can really predict animal behavior, but surely there is a tendency. I’m hoping you’ll answer although I’m sure you’ve been asked a million times already! 🙂

Hi Joanne,
It in’t unheard of for lion prides allowing new members in, but it is totally circumstance dependent and there are multiple factors invovled. Age of the individual, size of the pride, whether they have cubs or not, etc… Ultimately I imagine the benefit of having an extra lioness in the pride would have to outweigh the potential costs for it to happen.
When she goes into oestrus she will likely want to seek out a male(s), which will most likely bring her into closer proximity with other prides, and for the life of me I can’t say what their reactions to her would be. Most likely hostile, which is why an unestablished pride like the Mhangeni sub-adults would be her best bet…
Best regards

You are correct the Nkuhuma and Styx cubs are indeed Birmingham boys offspring. Thank you so much for the blog! Very interesting times ahead for sure!

Thanks Angie

How old are the Mhangeni subs now James?

Hi Lachlan,

Around two years old or just over.
I believe they were born during Autumn and winter of 2016.


Thanks James for the update do you know what has happened to the Sparta pride? I think they are also known as Eyrfield. I do hope the Tsalala female has offspring.

Senior Digital Ranger

Thanks for sorting out these lions with lovely photos

Thanks for the update James!! This does help to clear up the territorial dynamics in reltaion to the different parts of the reserve, and it’ll be interesting to see what happens in the North!

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