The Tsalala female and her daughter dodged a proverbial bullet a few days ago, walking within 100 metres of the full Nkuhuma Pride where they were lying above the Manyelethi Riverbed.
Had the two Tsalalas been spotted by the rival pride, things might not have ended well, as they would have been seriously outnumbered and the Nkuhuma females had their cubs to defend. As luck would have it, neither group realised the other was there and the Tsalala pair spent the day on the sands of the Manyelethi, sleeping peacefully only a few hundred metres from the danger of their rivals.
As evening fell the Nkuhumas got moving, walking down into the Manyelethi upstream from the Tsalala female, who actually caught sight of them. Wisely the two Tsalala lions opted to simply lie low in the sand, and they weren’t spotted.
The reality though is that we are seeing the Nkuhuma pride and the Avoca males (who were also close to the above incident) further and further south. The Nkuhuma pride would probably have been visible from the Londolozi camps as they set off into the dusk, and it seems like the clock must surely be ticking on the Tsalala lions’ time in the sun.
The status quo may remain unchanged for a few months or even a year, but I simply can’t see this single lioness (I’m discounting the sub-adult as it won’t add any value in a territorial scrap) being able to withstand mounting pressure from 8 big females. Or is it 9? I can never remember.
Either way, I think the thing we have to accept is that prides’ tenures are always going to be finite.
The once-mighty Sparta pride is down to one solitary female, and she is no longer viewed on Londolozi. Prides come and go, and whilst there certainly is a chance of the Tsalala pride growing once more if the current sub-adult survives to start breeding herself, the one thing that is not on their side is time. We’re looking at another year before the younger lion adds any real value on a hunt, and at least another two years but probably more before she comes into oestrus for the first time.
Her mother may reproduce again, but with the current male dynamics poised to undergo a significant restructuring, it’ll likely be many months after that happens that the required amount of stability settles for any of the prides to successfully start reproducing again.
I’m not trying to be a nay sayer here, I’m simply stating fact, or at least fact in the way I see it. Which I guess is opinion.
There’s the result I want to see and there’s the result that is far more likely.
The likely one doesn’t favour the Tsalalas…
It is always to read that the Tsalalas are doing well. They are such an iconic pride that it will be a pity if and when they are not around anymore.
I would really love to see them survive. Somehow I do love this brave single mother and her daughter…
James, I saved the photo of lioness leading her daughter🤗
They’ve come this far so I guess we live in hope…
Hi James thanks for the last news on Tsalalas. As they survived against all odds and are alive and kicking I do hope they will manage to thrive on… such perfect creatures in their prime deserve at least a few chances by nature
I recognize the significance of the precarious life of the Tsalala lionesses…but I’m still a Cheerleader for them!
The odds seem low but I root for them anyways!! Every time a new update comes On the Tsalala “Pride” I breath a sigh of relief.
Your scenario is difficult to think about but it seems with the advance of the Nkuhumas, in addition to the current Ntsevu residents, the two Tsalalas are existing on borrowed time. It’s amazing the Tsalala female is able to hunt on her own due to the fact her daughter is too young to assist her – that’s a feat in itself to provide a meal for two. I know you’ll keep us up to date …..
I believe in miracles ❤️
I am going to stubbornly and optimistically hope for the best. These lions are beautiful and special, and hopefully they can thread the needle and stay safe.
I will continue to be positive towards the Tsalala’s outcome..they drew the long straw here ..they need all the help they can get. 🙏🙏🤞💕
After being on a hiatus, it’s a real pleasure to open up and read about Tsalalas and her current status. I agree with you, James. The laws of probability are against her and to a less degree, her cub. Nevertheless I still salute Tsalalas…the reigning queen of overcoming. I could list all the things she’s endured, but you know them better than I. Thanks for the cautionary word….we may never be prepared for her possible long term reality.
Such an interesting story, thank you, always good to here your updates. My first trips to Londolozi were filled with sightings of both the Tsalala and Sparta prides, now both in such peril. The Ximhungwe pride also in exactly the same situation. Fingers crossed for them all!
Please keep us posted James. I’m going to stay positive for this female and her daughter – hopefully they’ll gain a few members and increase in numbers!!
You always are a naysayer and you always contend that you are stating fact. Fortunately, you are not always right. I wish the best for the Tsalalas.
So sad to even think about what may very well happen to the Tsalala lioness and her cub. Keep us updated!
Great article James! I think it’s a great testament to the Tsalala Lioness’ ability as a mother that she’s managed to get her daughter to nearly two-years old. But I too have doubts about their ability to stay clear of the other prides (the Nkuhumas have 7-8 lionesses, depending on if one of the younger adult females is with them). Where have the two females been spending their time and where have the Nkuhumas been seen (and how far into Londolozi)?
Im so very glad you posted another story on the Tsalalas lioness and her daughter.
In these tough times it is a bright spot of hope. I will continue to route for them as well.
Thank you for your blogs I always enjoy reading them.
I love these lionesses. I’m so glad to read that they are doing well. Of course, knowing the dangers I continue to pray that this remains so. They are an extraordinary pride and well-deserved of flourishing and multiplying in number. Lord, keep them safe. Amen!
Maybe the little “serendipity” for the Tsalala for avoiding this potential confrontation will continue.
thank you for this very welcome story of the Tsalalas mother and daughter, their well-being is close to a lot of people’s hearts, I do hope that when we can visit you again they will still be around.
another wonderful story James, thank you.
take care and keep safe,
Hope James, hope!! ❤️❤️❤️
While I’m sure you are likely right James, I somehow hope the best for the Tsalala lions!
What an impressive Mother and Daughter team. This Mother has done well and hope to continue to see more of these two!
I am really hoping that somehow the Tsalala Lioness and her daughter will survive and will grow into another pride. It would be so satisfying. Wendy M
It’s amazing that nature set the lion’s oestrus period at almost every 2 years or so. Then, if a her cubs are killed, even longer, because she must wait to achieve oestrus and have successful mating, then have the gestation period and then take about 2 more years to raise the young. I think it’s not ‘survival of the fittest’, but lifetime of the luckiest.
And, then, their pray species have children almost every year! No wonder they are the most populous. What a magnificently set up game. These animals will never disappear if we get rid of our context about their nature in order to feed our contrived nature. Thank goodness Biden won our election. Enough of us got tired of that contrived nature being bandied about and said, “I’ll have no more of this.”
I suggest it’s time we take a real good look at whether the context of survival should even be in play. Ever since I signed up for my wildlife viewing at Londolozi, which was scheduled to begin on November 18th, I have been watching all kinds of safari footage. A huge awakening came to me when I decide to watch those films and documentaries without the commentary of human interjection. Their really is no survival. The animals are living the lives they were designed to live. None of them is getting up every morning and complaining and wishing it was different, except that little Netsevu cub – so cute.
We must distinguish these differences in order to live better lives ourselves. Another clue to the fact that there is no survival, is the existence of death. Nobody survives. We just live until we die.
Lets hope they manage to keep avoiding the Nkuhuma’s.