I thoroughly enjoy browsing our archives to see what happened when, to see if predictions came true or not or simply to reflect on how quickly things change in the bush.
I like making the comparison between 6 months ago, this time last year and sometimes even further back, noting that the lineup of predators from half a decade ago is almost completely different to what it is today.
I recently checked back in to the February 2018 archives – only 12 months ago – and thought we could go through a few of the headlines from then and how they are relevant today:
This was big news at the time. The Mhangeni females were leaving their pride territory individually, venturing towards the territory of their daughters the Ntsevu females in an attempt to mate with the dominant males, the Birmingham coalition.
It seems that their efforts were rewarded, as since then three lionesses have given birth (to my knowledge), and the pride seems to have accepted the Ottawa male lion into its ranks. That (the male) is a story all in itself, but suffice it to say the Mhangeni females are so far successfully raising their third round of cubs.
This was obviously a big one. The beginning of the end of an era. The first of the infamous Tsalala sisters to die, her remains were discovered to the south-east of Ximpalapala Koppie, on which she had denned multiple litters during her life. Her sister was to die only a few months later, leaving the young Tsalala female from 2013 as the only surviving member of their pride. One year on and that lioness is still being seen on her own. Mating attempts with the Birmingham males have so far been unsuccessful, but since we haven’t seen her in a while, and from our last look at her it appeared she may have been pregnant, who knows…?
The Three Rivers female is a name you will most likely be seeing more of on this platform. The daughter of the deceased Xidulu female leopard, this young female was left orphaned after the Avoca male lions killed her mother in 2017. After the male cub disappeared early on, we weren’t sustaining much hope for the female, but thankfully, she currently seems to be thriving. Operating in an area very similar to the Tamboti Young female – who was also thrust into independence upon the death of her mother – the Three Rivers female is now three years old, and I imagine establishing some prime territory for herself in the area formerly occupied by the Tamboti female.
This post looked at the life of the Tatowa female, and it was so unbelievably close to being a completely happy ending. The female was raising two cubs at the time. The male is now independent and still seen regularly on the southern parts of Londolozi, but the female has not been seen in a long time and sadly has to be presumed to be deceased. The two were nearly the first intact litter to be raised successfully since the Nhlanguleni female and her brother (born early 2011).
Still, getting even one cub through to independence is no mean feat (we believe it was the Tatowa female’s second attempt, although her first litter was never seen).
Out of the four stories chosen from that month that are still relevant today, two are happy endings so far (Mhangeni and Three Rivers female), one is 50/50 (Tatowa female and cubs) and the Tsalala post I guess also breaks even, as the young lioness is still around. Let’s put that one slightly in the “Win” column.
Let’s hope in a year’s time we can look back and chalk up the same score if not better when looking at the posts from this month…