About the Author

James Tyrrell

Photographic Guide/Media Team

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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14 Comments

on Do Lions Have Self-Control?

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Marinda Drake
Master Tracker

Interesting discussion. It is probable that if lions don’t take the oppurtunity presented to them it might be gone. Win or loose.

Victoria Auchincloss
Senior Digital Ranger

I would guess that where hunger and need for food often for a crowd could make losing your self control very quickly ! Who knows who or what is creeping up or if it is buffaloes where the herd is. Can’t be easy feeding a crowd in a world of completion. Victoria

Joan Schmiidt
Digital Tracker

James, great blog today. I always enjoy reading your blogs. Keep them coming.

James Tyrrell
Photographic Guide/Media Team

Thanks Joan

Johanna Browne
Explorer

With roughly 7.6 billion people in the world not to mention the billions that have passed through here already, we can always find an “expert” theorizing in writing as to the lack of intelligence, sentience etc… of animals versus humans. It is the human ego that does so. However taking it straight from the horses, or in this case lion, leopard, wolves point of view, one perceives a much different view from that of a ‘specialist” on animal behavior. It is sort of like someone writing about scuba diving when they don’t know how to swim 🙂 Fellow South African Anna Breytenbach, has wonderful videos on this ability, which we can all do. In one she talks about tracking wolves that had separated a fawn from a herd of deer. The wolves waited until the alpha wolf, while nose to nose decided if it was the fawn’s time or not. It wasn’t and the wolf then pulled his pack off to find another kill. Or her most famous one of her conversation with a black leopard misnamed Diablo who was in a sanctuary and very depressed. She turned it all around for everyone, including the sanctuary owner, with her listening to his needs. When we do understand the sentience of all animals the world opens up for us and we can even call animals in to see them or know where they are by asking. However if we hold them in the space of lacking intelligence or self awareness they will indeed act or continue to be perceived that way and experiences can be happenstance. An interesting idea for a guide or tracker, no? 😉

James Tyrrell
Photographic Guide/Media Team

Hi Johanna,
Thanks for the comments and you raise some interesting comments.
However, just because certain species are on different intellectual levels than others dos not in any way mean they should be accorded a status of lesser worth, and I think that is where a lot of the misunderstanding lies.
We shouldn’t have to perceive animals – I’m talking about any species – as occupying some sort of sentient space simply to accord them or the natural system they occupy more importance.
Whatever my views on the intelligence levels of the various species that occupy this magical place, they all have an important place in the web of nature.
But, sadly not everyone sees things in the same way…

Leonie De Young
Senior Digital Ranger

Interesting blog James. I guess with all of the cat families it is a hit and miss situation. Always feel bad when a leopard has it’s lunch/dinner stolen by a hyena who did nothing to earn the reward. Guess that is just life in the bush. Thanks for sharing your thoughts with us. “Food for thought as it were”

Bob & Lucie Fjeldstad
Guest contributor

Your banner picture or the seven lionesses attacking the cape buffalo is amazing!!!

James Tyrrell
Photographic Guide/Media Team

Thanks guys.
Sadly I haven’t seen anything like that recently; it’s an older photo of the Sparta pride bringing down an old cow.

Beverly Reid
Explorer

How are the three young lions who were separated from their pride??

James Tyrrell
Photographic Guide/Media Team

Hi Beverly,

Which lions are you referring to?

Beverly Reid
Explorer

We stayed at Pioneer camp about three weeks ago, Alfred and Terrance were are guides, there were three young mangy lions who had been separated from their pride. On our drives we saw then twice, just waiting for their Mom to find them. That is all i can tell you.

James Tyrrell
Photographic Guide/Media Team

Hi Beverly,

OK I’ll chat with Alfie and ask him. If they didn’t look in such good condition they was most likely a few of the Styx pride…

Denise Vouri
Guest contributor

Thank you for this “food for thought”. Your blogs of late have been fascinating and thought-provoking, appreciated by your readers.

I watched the third episode of Serengeti last night that is a wonderful documentary following the lives of specific animals through the four seasons in Tanzania’s Serengeti. Highlighted is a lioness with three cubs, bundles of tawny fluff and full of energy, always hungry. It’s the migration, and for predators a plethora of meal choices- yet, it was observed Kali tried for a wildebeest but was almost crushed in the quest for a meal… fast forward, she tried again the next day, using a different strategy and was successful! This episode brought your blog to mind…… lions are smart in knowing their limits and retreating to plan their next attack.

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