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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34 Comments

on Birmingham Male Lion Dies

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Sara Kearns
Explorer

Which male was it? I remember all 5 while watching Wild Earth Safari Live as they crossed back and forth from Djuma to Londolozi.. They were mighty impressive.

Michael Fleetwood
Senior Digital Ranger

It was Nsuku who died.

Joan Schmiidt
Digital Tracker

James, so sorry to hear about Birmingham Male Lion has died, but I guess it was inevitable with his injury.

Laura Eberly
Digital Ranger

We were fortunate to see him on a neighboring reserve last summer. He was magnificent!We nicknamed him Warrior, so appropriate in so many ways, roaring until the end. Somehow I feel as though I have lost a very special touchstone to Africa. May he truly roam the skies!

Kate Doyle
Explorer

Sad to see him go, but I’m glad he is no longer in pain. Poor guy. I am very grateful to have seen him sunning himself in the sand w his family last year.

Cindy Hauert
Explorer

I saw this guy on my visit last September, and indeed I’m surprised he made it this long. He’s roaring on the long way now…

Maria Deliou
Explorer

am not sure but I think I have watched a documentary claiming that nomad male lions could tell from a territorial male lion’s roar if the lion was healthy or not. I think that the same was said about the scent marking as well. in other words, that a lion is able to tell the age, the health status and other things from the scent that another lion has marked. if that is the case, so maybe the injured lion roaring could have made the things worse for the remaining two lions in the coalition. I mean if nomad lions had heard his roar and had been able to pick up his injury this could have been worse than they hadn’t heard a third roar at all.

James Tyrrell
Photographic Guide/Media Team

Interesting, Maria.
I’m almost 100% sure that lions can read far more into each other’s calls than we realise, so I’m sure there’s something to be said for that…

Denise Vouri
Guest contributor

Sad news, but expected given the injury he sustained. Looking forward to continuing news about the remaining two males….. can they hold on to their territory or will neighboring coalitions look to make a move?!

Victoria Auchincloss
Senior Digital Ranger

It is always sad to say goodbye to a longtime « friend ». Let’s hope the 2 remaining can survive for a while. 😢Victoria

Darryl Piggott
Explorer

Then this could be bad news for the survival prospects of the cubs that the Birmingham coalition has sired on the property?

Jim Davis
Explorer

James, good report as usual. Did you see him or just judge he was gone based on absence? It seems like just yesterday the B Boys arrived on the scene. How old would you guess he was? Are the surviving two in good shape? Keep up the good work…also, great photography as usual

James Tyrrell
Photographic Guide/Media Team

Hi Jim,
Thanks for the kind words.
He died in Mala Mala about a kilometre east of Londolozi. Their rangers found his body and reported it to us.

Scott Sebastian
Explorer

Sorry to hear about the death of the injured male. Now he can join his brothers that have previously passed and finally be at peace. How long have the Birmingham males been around. Hope the two that are left can hold onto there territory for awhile . Was the Avoca males the ones that came through a while back and killed one of the male leopards. Thanks for all your great blogs it makes me feel like i’m right there.

Darlene Knott
Digital Tracker

Now to worry about the cubs sired by these males! Can the two continue to protect them from intruders? 😢

Michael Fleetwood
Senior Digital Ranger

A sad loss indeed, but I think his brothers will be ok. The Sabi Sands is pretty stable when it comes to the lions, particularly the males. The three Northern Avocas are firmly entrenched in the northern sector of the Sabi Sands and their territory extends into the southern Manyeleti, and they are dominant over the Nkuhuma Pride and Talamati Pride. Then there’s the two Southern Avocas in the southern Sabi Sands. Then there’s the lone Matimba Male in the western sector, and the Othawa Male, who has been with the Mhangeni Pride on Sabi Sabi over the last little while. So I think the two Birminghams will be okay for the time being.

That said, there are five youung males from the Nharhu Pride of the Manyeleti (ironically nephews of the Birmingham Boys – sons of the Birminghams sisters, the Nharhu Lionesses, who broke away from the original Birmingham Pride – who have been hanging around the Southern Manyeleti and on Buffelshoek in the northern Sabi Sands (even making a foray onto Djuma Game Reserve) recently, but they are just turning four-years old at the end of this year, so probably lack the size and surely the confidence and experience the Birminghams and the Northern Avocas have.

James Tyrrell
Photographic Guide/Media Team

Thanks for the updates Michael!

Michael Fleetwood
Senior Digital Ranger

Happy to James! Dynamics are one of greatest interests when it comes to the lions and leopards!

Vin Beni
Digital Tracker

Thanks for providing the detail!

Denise Vouri
Guest contributor

Michael, how is it you know so much about the various prides and coalition? Are you living there?

Mike Ryan
Explorer

Thanks Michael really appreciate your knowledge. Not sure if I am correct but where there not 4 young Mhangeni males and a female moved out a few years ago. Do you know where they have gone. I am a fellow Digital Tracker monitoring the sites of the adjacent properties to Londo (The only place to go) but not strong in the north. Very impressed.

Binal Mistry
Explorer

Michael that is very true! The Nharu pride were ruled by the Thanda Impi Males but Scorro vanished after he lost his coalition partner Sizanani. One Nharu sub adult male joined the Mbiri pride i believe and was adopted by them (last i heard).
The Northern Avocas are firmly planted as the rulers of the Northern Sabi Sands. They have sired many cubs with the Nkuhuma Pride and even allowed the last Mhangeni male to feed for a while.
Their two slightly older brothers in the South have the Sparta Pride and are content for now.
Tinyo and Nhenha (Birminghams) are both 8 years old. Tinyo being one of the youngest of his brothers/cousins. They are still in great condition and have the back up of 6 fierce lionesses whom they have sired cubs with.

Gosh… i love this stuff. So interesting.

Loved reading your update and your views on Lion dynamics.

James and Michael… thank you for always sharing your info with us.

Much respect! Hope you are all well.

Binal Mistry
Explorer

Those Nharu boys (born end of 2015) would make an interesting addition to Sabi Sands in a year or two. However, things are currently stable and i hope that it stays that way as there are many young cubs in the area. This would be great for Lion numbers in the area. Those nomadic young males from the N’waswitshaka Pride went back to Kruger and the Nharu Pride boys went back to the Manyeleti (i think). Which may be for the best right now.
Gotta love Sabi Sands!

Terre08
Explorer

In his prime one of the most beautiful lions you could see. RIP.

Joanne Wadsworth Kelley
Master Tracker

Although sad to hear, I’m so glad he isn’t suffering and starving since he couldn’t hunt. Interesting to see how the territories pan out in the next few months. Great work, James.

Linda Rawles
Digital Ranger

RIP, oh noble creature. Better to die roaring in the river than end up on some person’s wall.

Wendy Macnicol
Senior Digital Ranger

It is really so very sad when one sees an injured lion and then hears of his death. We wish the remaining Birminghams every success in the future in holding their territories. Thank you, James, for the pics and the story. Wendy M

Marinda Drake
Master Tracker

Oh no. This is so sad.

Kat Ddio
Explorer

Beautiful beast. So fortunate to have seen him healthy last year and then after his injury in July this year. Remarkable that he was able to survive as long as he did in such bad shape.

Patsy Crisp
Explorer

Thank you for the update. What memories we have of the BB’s in the north and when they ousted the Matimbas. As you write the Avocas are very present on B’hoek, so it will be interesting to see what transpires.
Much appreciation for your wonderful blogs!

Mj Bradley
Senior Digital Ranger

Very sad to hear that Nsuku has passed into memory. He was a handsome boy.. I wish his brothers, Nhenha & Tinyo well whatever their future holds. The one worry I would have if they are ousted is the survival of the single cub of the Tsalala Female. Thank you for the blog and your thoughts.

Andrew and Daniel Bolnick
Senior Digital Ranger

Thanks for reporting this James. From what I gathered in my visit to Londolozi the Birmingham males have been a force for sometime. But like all good things…

Callum Evans
Guest contributor

What was the cause of the third Birmingham Males injury?

Tammy Hynes
Explorer

Its so sad the lives these poor lions go through so hard. Of corse humans are a big cause pushing the prides closer and closer together creates more fights in turn more death. Theres many days I wish humans would just go away forever.

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