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…