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Pete Thorpe

Field Guide

Right from his very first bush trip at the age of four, Pete was always enthralled by this environment. Having grown up in the Middle East, Pete’s home-away-from-home has always been a bungalow in the Greater Kruger National Park, where his family had ...

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34 Comments

on The Tsalala Lioness and Cubs Update

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Gillian Lacey
Explorer

What a brilliant update – got all fingers and toes crossed that these little ones make it despite the odds.

Marinda Drake
Master Tracker

It is wonderful to see the cubs surviving against the odds. She seem to be a great mother. Lovely video.

Darlene Knott
Digital Tracker

Fantastic news! Beautiful video and photos too! Keep us informed of her progress, Pete!

Ian Hall
Digital Tracker

I have my fingers crossed for her and my cat has her paws crossed for her also, how long would it be before the cubs would become non-reliant? Do you know the sexes of the cubs yet?

Two females and a male

Pete Thorpe
Field Guide

Hi Ian,

Two females and one male. The females will hopefully stay with the mother and contribute to the pride. The dynamics will be interesting as in the case of a pride, at 3-4 months the cubs will follow the lionesses around but won’t contribute to hunts. Only around 11-12 months will they actively be stalking with the mother but will often ruin hunts in their excitement. So from roughly 13-18 months they will be contributing to kills but are still very much at risk of being killed by nomadic males. In the case of a single lioness, this may all be very different – the animals most often don’t follow the textbooks out here.

Ian Hall
Digital Tracker

Many thanks, hopefully the lionesses will survive to maturity and form a pride – not sure what awaits the solitary male

Henk Slettenhaar
Senior Digital Ranger

What a awesome cat!

Mary Beth Wheeler
Guest contributor

This lioness is herself an amazing survivor and now to have raised 3 cubs alone is a true feat. May her good luck continue!

Tasha Johnson
Explorer

She really is amazing that’s one thing I love about Lionesses, they are Survivors indeed

Vin Beni
Senior Digital Ranger

Hope to get a sighting when we’re there in late July.

Bob & Lucie Fjeldstad
Guest contributor

Do you think the reason for her having her litter in March rather than, say, December is because she was alone instead of a part of a larger pride? And as an aside, why was this post flagged with a “wildlife” keyword rather than “lions”.

Pete Thorpe
Field Guide

Hi Bob and Lucie,

Lions have no set breeding season so there is no correlation there to the time of year. As an example, the current litters in the Ntsevu pride were all born over a spread of about 10 months.

I’ll have to follow up on the latter question – that’s beyond my techno knowledge as both “lions” and “wildlife” have been checked as fields on the back end.

Susan Strauss
Senior Digital Ranger

Lord have mercy, how wonderful!! I will be at Londolozi in July and so want to see them.

Callum Evans
Guest contributor

This is absolutely fantastic!!! I’ve been waiting to see photos like of these of this family!!

Andrew & Daniel Bolnick
Senior Digital Ranger

Really enjoyed your pictures. Good to see the family is well.

So glad to see the cubs doing well! Pete, do you know if the lioness and/or cubs has had contact with any of the Birminghams since she mated? I’m curious as to how the Birminghams will react to her and the cubs if they haven’t had contact since she mated with one of them.

Pete Thorpe
Field Guide

Hi Michael,

You’re right – two females and a male.

We haven’t yet seen the males with her since mating. She has been seen calling recently, which may attract their attention. Only time will reveal how they react to the youngsters…

Thanks very much Pete! Hoping everything will go smoothly should that happen!

Joan Schmiidt
Digital Tracker

Pete, I hope the cubs make it to adulthood – please keep me posted on the progress

Phil Schultz
Explorer

My visit to Londolozi May 2018 almost coincided with the death of the tailless female which I believe was the lone remaining Tsalala female’s sister or mother. In fact, one of my last sightings on that visit was the pair of lionesses crossing the waters of the Sand River in the dark after sunset disappearing over the raised north bank not far from the camps. A few days later I was back home in the States and read a blog entry that the Tailless female had died. I had seen the Tsalala pride my first visit in 2016 on a buffalo kill when their numbers were stronger. Both sightings have given me the kind of personal connection that will always spark interest in any updates on the well-being of the pride’s legacy

I have been following her and then her and the cubs for quite a while and routing for them. I wish her much luck. My heart goes out to such a social animal being left all alone and now trying to raise three cubs on her own. She’s a wonder.

Suzanne Gibson
Guest contributor

Thank you Pete, the video and photos are just gorgeous. I’ve been following the Tsalala pride throughout my 9 visits, and I so hope she can rear these cubs to maturity and so continue the line.

Denise Vouri
Guest contributor

I love the video, the continuing story of this remarkable lioness and the new images. She has captured the hearts of all of who subscribe to this blog, even if we’ve never seen her. Raising three cubs to adulthood is a feat for any lioness, even with pride support, and for her to attempt it solo is brave. We have to keep our emotions in check but it’s difficult when we’re rooting for her success.

Do you know who the father may be? Looking forward to more stories and photos of them.

Pete Thorpe
Field Guide

Hi Denise,

She was seen mating with at least one of the Birmingham males, possibly more. We have not seen those males pushing up into her territory for quite some time now though. Luckily for her, no other males have really made any proper in-trails into the area that she frequents as of yet.

Tasha Johnson
Explorer

Hi, Denise,
You are quite right she has captured the hearts of us all and We will keep supporting her until the very end

Suecol777
Explorer

Somebody needs to organise that lioness a child support allowance and get her the phone number of a good babysitter! She looks very thin to me!

Joanne Wadsworth Kelley
Master Tracker

For all of us who have both cheered and worried about Tsalala this past year, this particular blog entry along with images and the delightful video thrills us to no end. I can’t imagine how the Londolozi staff must feel! We are ALL elated! She is such a overcomer and we cheer her along with those three adorable Cubs! Somehow I hope they remain safe.

Pete Thorpe
Field Guide

It is difficult not to get attached out here, Joanne. We do all eagerly await news from each sighting of her!

Michael & Terri Klauber
Guest contributor

Pete, Without a doubt, your lion cubs video is one of the most memorable ever! Thanks for sharing!

Pete Thorpe
Field Guide

Thanks Michael and Terri! It’s a great memory to share with everyone…

Wendy Macnicol
Senior Digital Ranger

Dear Pete. Thank you so much for this story AND the pics too which are great. Never been to Londolozi but follow everything every day when reading about it. I have SO much respect and admiration for this Mum. She is quite remarkable and the cubs are delightful. Agree – she does look rather thin. Not surprising really as she has to cope with feeding them and ensuring she catches prey regularly. Thanks again. Keep us posted,will you? Wendy M

Pete Thorpe
Field Guide

Hi Wendy,

Wonderful that you are a keen follower of the Tsalala female’s progress. It really is a remarkable story! She is thin in the photographs here but you’ll be happy to know that she has had several good meals that we know of since this sighting!

Tasha Johnson
Explorer

As a lover of Lionesses, I am so amazed by her and I hope her cubs survive all odds

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