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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22 Comments

on Are Lions Really Unsuccessful Hunters?

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Marinda Drake
Master Tracker

Interesting. I have read Liontide – Christopher Mc Bride. He did research on the lions of Savuti in Botswana. Their success rate was not too good as they hunted mostly young or injured buffalo at night. It probably depend on the pride size as you mention James, how often they need to hunt.

Annie.Lane07
Explorer

Very interesting reading. Thank you.

Joan Schmiidt
Master Tracker

James, what a wonderful blog! Mother Leopard of Londolozi raised 10 litters (who is it?)

James Tyrrell
Photographic Guide/Media Team

Hi Joan, do you mean who was the Mother Leopard?
That’ simply what she was known as, as she was the original habituated female here that had her life documented by Elmon Mhlongo and John Varty.

Wendy Macnicol
Digital Tracker

An interesting read, James. Thanks a lot. I tried counting all the prone bodies on the Airstrip and I probably missed a few too – 17! A big pride indeed. I might have miscounted too because it was difficult here and there to see exactly how many bodies there were. Wendy M

James Tyrrell
Photographic Guide/Media Team

Two youngsters were still coming, and did you see the big male in the grass in the background to the left?

Andrew and Daniel Bolnick
Digital Tracker

Always love these kinds of stories James. Never a dull moment. Especially when the grass is green and high

Denise Vouri
Guest contributor

Fascinating read James. Understanding the Ntsevu pride at 20 strong, populated primarily by youngsters who contribute nothing to securing food for continued sustenance, I find these lionesses to be the true heroes of this pride. What I hadn’t considered was that after taking down big prey, gorging until bellies are full, the pride could go into a food coma for days, occasionally, until hunger strikes again. My question is that the cubs, mostly weaned by now, depend on meat and I doubt the larger members of the pride share nicely, so is there a connection between hunting in order to care for the youngsters?

James Tyrrell
Photographic Guide/Media Team

Hi Denise, I imagine so.
The small cubs in particular struggle to gain access to smaller kills as they are torn apart so quickly, so perhaps their mother in particular feels the need to hunt more often. They’re near the airstrip again today and it’s going to be another dark night, so I know where I’m going to be…

Victoria Auchincloss
Digital Tracker

If I remember the lesson we learned on our first visit- at night lions eyes shine red while the prey’s eyes are blue and we had to be careful with the spot light. Does the eye color make it easier for the lions? Or have I forgotten me lesson! Victoria

James Tyrrell
Photographic Guide/Media Team

HI Victoria.
There is some colour difference between the various eyes but a lot of it has to do with distance apart, whether you see two eyes ( eyes facing forward in predators for binocular vision, eyes to the side for peripheral vision for prey), their height above ground etc…

Denise Vouri
Guest contributor

I understand RSA will be under quarantine for the next 21 days. I know this will be difficult for your staff who look forward to their daily interactions with guests and trickling down, necessary income for their families, but Londolozi is a entity that is a complete family. Guests will be disappointed but re-scheduling is the obvious option. I would have been arriving tomorrow but a freak fractured arm ended my trip- I will be rescheduling later this year. It’s important to take care, and let us get through this together…..

Tim Musumba
Digital Ranger

Nice article on the the success of a lions hunting rate. Now in the ninth paragraph you claim that the pride were found on the Londolozi strip with full bellies, indicating they had killed something big later in the night. You suspected it was an injured Zebra who had been seen in the area the day before..My question is you did not come across the carcass of the Zebra to establish that indeed it was a Zebra that was killed because you are not sure in the article if it was that injured Zebra or perhaps even a different animal!

James Tyrrell
Photographic Guide/Media Team

Hi Tim,
We didn’t find the carcass itself, but tracks indicate it was both zebra and wildebeest they were chasing. It was a presumption more than anything but we can’t confirm…

Tim Musumba
Digital Ranger

Thank you so much for the kind answer. I appreciate it and now i understand!

Kay Schmid
Digital Ranger

James, are the lions on the airstrip because the surface is warmer than the ground?

James Tyrrell
Photographic Guide/Media Team

Hi Kay, On cloudy mornings and in winter, yes, often. It also offers an attractive place to hunt on the darkest nights as there is an abundance of prey there, that take advantage of the slightly safer open areas.

Phil Schultz
Senior Digital Ranger

Curious how the shut down in South Africa is effecting the good folks at Londolozi? Or the shutdown of flights and it’s effect on tourism?

James Tyrrell
Photographic Guide/Media Team

Hi Phil,
Sadly tourism has been affected with many of our guests postponing their visits until later in the year or until 2012. Hopefully everything works itself out in the next month or two…

Jen Lum
Senior Digital Ranger

James,.. Your storytelling about spending time with the lions in the evening amidst the night skies is just so “capturing.” Even moment is filled with clarity and vivid details, that as you explain things, it’s “information” is enchanting while edifying. Everything you share is like a book you can’t put down!
.. And by the way, the picture of the lioness sitting amidst the night time sky is just beautiful! It will sure to be one of my alltime favorites!

Callum Evans
Guest contributor

Could the location the pride is in also affect their sucess rate?

Vin Beni
Guest contributor

Loved the photo of the lions taking a post-meal siesta on the airstrip,
Just came off a self-quarantine, having been in direct contact with 2 individuals who were later diagnosed with the virus.
Hope all are safe!

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