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James Tyrrell


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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on What Happens Next With the Ntsevu Pride?

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I do hope the youngest cubs can survive untill the young males leave the pride. But then it is not garenteed that the males will make it on their own. It is tough to be a lion.

Master Tracker

Watching with interest, a major pride like that is an awesome sight

James, great blog today! The lion cubs are not getting their fare share of the kills? What will happen?

Hi Joan,
If they continue to only get a little food, they may well starve, but fortunately the pride has killed two zebras in three nights, so they’re all well fed…

we saw a lot of this pride in late January and they were mostly asleep in the shade. Alfi and Terrence said they were moving at night. hope whichever way they divide they will become at least two or three new prides. a note to everyone at Londolozi, as the new corona virus has arrived in South Africa, please all of you stay safe. Victoria

I believe you are correct James, about the likelihood of the smallest members of the massive pride to survive. I commented on this a few days ago, wondering how the little ones could obtain enough meat, given they were most likely weaned. Me go prides are stunning to observe as I saw with the Mhagene 16, but the burden to feed all those kids is overwhelming, and the Birmingham males don’t participate in kills very often…… I guess it all comes back to survival of the fittest!!

Very sad for the little ones. Would their own mama split away to preferentially feed them or does that not really happen?

So glad the cubbies are keeping up! Are these the same Birmingham males who used to be the coalition males over the Nkuhuma pride? Lately, the Avocas and Nkuhumas have been spending more time around Londolozi. Any chance the Nsetvu/Birmingham group will clash with the Avocas/Nkuhumas? Given how big both groups are, I could see how there could be a real struggle over the food supply.

Thanks for the updates and love reading the blog.

Hi Jerri,
I imagine a Biringham/Avoca clash is somewhat inevitable. If not a clash, then at least some kind of reaction from one group based on the other…

James, just yesterday Sabi Sabi reported that there was a sighting of 7 lions which they believe was a part of the Ntsevu pride. In the pictures two young cubs appeared; which may be the ones to which you’re referring. Maybe the mothers of the smallest cubs will split off like their Grandmothers (Tsalalas) often did when cubs were in danger.

Hmmm not too sure. I know most of the Ntsevu cubs and a Birmingham male were on Mala Mala, so it’s conceivable the missing females were on SS. Was that information current?

It’s always been the survival of the fittest. Sad though. Due to the large numbers, the mother’s have become indifferent since only 1 kill can’t feed every mouth. Sad outcome. Definite disadvantage when a Pride is too large.

Interesting times ahead for this large pride. Being the youngest is tough! Should the pride split would it be harder for the Birmingham’s to remain the dominant males?

Senior Digital Ranger

James,.. Due to the circumstances, is there any chance that the younger cubs could be “rescued” and sent to a private sanctuary, or are they left to take the brunt of surviving in the wild? – This is a heart breaking reality. I’m glad you folks at Londolozi are keeping track of the pride and the little ones.

Great piece James!…is a similar dynamic playing out with the Kambula pride (and Gowrie males) too. I’m not sure how much time they spend on the Londoz property, nor if they are a separate pride vs diff name for same group?…but with winter about to kick in, the river much more traverse-able and food becoming more scarce…it leads to a very interesting lion dynamic!

My heart goes out to the two little cubs. Nature is harsh and a lions life is tough at the best of times. Hoping for the absolute best for each and every one of them.

Digital Ranger

Hope the remaining cub or cubs could make to adulthood !

It looks like this pride needs to change its hunting strategy and start focusing on larger prey like you said.

James, I have been thinking about this same situation and it makes me wonder where, if the young Ntsevu sub-adult females eventually leave their mothers, where they may end up and if there is a chance the youngest cubs could end up perishing as a result of competition? I also think it could be a similar situation with the Nkuhuma Pride in the next year, as six of their nine cubs are male and often have two of the three Avoca’s with them.

Yip the youngest three are struggling but we saw them today and they looked a lot better. The pride killed another zebra last night so they are all well fed.
There isn’t a lot of space for another pride in the reserve right now, but the Ntsevu females forced the Sparta pride out, so maybe they could do the same to the Tsalala female?

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