Hi Stacy, Karen in VA and I did some research on the Tsalala pride for a lion database on the boma. This info was current as of the 1st part of April this year.
This Pride's roots come from the same original Pride as does the Roller Coaster/Shaw/Castleton Males.
In 1997, 2 females broke away from their original pride of the Castletons. They became known as the Tsalala Pride named after the Tsalala Pan they frequented early on. These two Tsalala Lionesses mated with the 5 West Street/Sparta males (who also sired the Mapogos) and produced 7 cubs early in 1998. Sadly, only 2 cubs survived a male and a female. Eventually the male was killed by poachers leaving only the female cub that is the Oldest of the Tsalala Pride today known as BB.
One of the two original first Tsalala females died in 2000 from a zebra kick leaving the remaining adult female and her sub adult female cub, BB.
By 2004, the cub, BB, had matured and remained with her Mother. Both Mother and Daughter mated with the remaining 2 Split Rock/Marthly Males and both produced cubs in December of 2003. Unfortunately, the Mother was killed by Hyenas and her cubs were lost. Her daughter, BB, remained along with her two female cubs that are known today as the "Young" Tsalala lionesses that we see around Elephant Plains.
BB, mated again with the Split Rock/Marthly males in 2005 and produced a litter or 4 (3male, 1 female) and her two 18 month old daughters remained with her. Tragedy struck again when in Dec 2005 it is speculated that a fight with Hyenas may have occured and left BB with no tail. Bitten off close to the base. She survived but by March 2006 only 2 young male cubs remained. Some conflicting reports on time line come into play now. The two daughters around the end of 2005 left their Mother and went with a male lion believed to be from Kruger. The names associated with him are Serengeti/Kruger Male/Vulolo/Rocky. It is speculated the two daughters left their Mother to ensure the safety of their Mother's cubs as the Serengeti/Vulolo/ male, "Rocky", would have killed them.
Of BB's two remaining male cubs, one was killed by the Roller Coaster/Shaw/Castleton males late in 2006. The remaining male cub is still alive at last reports.
Now for how the "Young" Tsalala Females got reunited with their Mother, BB and her sub adult son. Though the Young Tsalalas moved off with the Serengeti/Vulolo male and produced litters in April and July of 2006. By early 2007 reports were coming in that the Serengeti/Vulolo male and the two "Young" Tsalala females and most of their cubs had been killed by male lions. First thought the 2 Split Rock/Marthly males to be the culprits. It was said that two of the cubs survived and some how had been reunited with BB, their Grandmother. Soon this story would unfold as untrue. The truth apparently was the Mapogos had killed and eaten "Rocky" the Serengeti/Vulolo male. The two "Young" Tsalala females survived as did their 6 cubs and they were seen again in the EP area around May 2007. The conflicting side to this story is that the two Daughters, their 6 cubs, BB and her two sub adult male cubs were all together in Dec 2006 when attacked by the Roller Coaster Males which resulted in the death of one of the sub adult male cubs.
In June of 2007, BB was seen with suckle marks indicating she had cubs but no further reports were made on any cubs so they must have been lost at some point.
In July 2007, the two Young Tsalala females were reported seen on Djuma. There were only four cubs with them and one adult female was limping. It is not known what became of the other two cubs. During the report month, two more cubs disappeared. It was reported by EP that two cubs were killed by the Mapogos. Before the end of the year, only one female cub survived and was still alive at last report. She should be nearing the age of either 20 months or two years of age depending on which litter she originated from
BB was reported in Feb of 2008 to have a 1 1/2 month old cub and it is speculated that a Mapogo is the sire.
March 2008, one of the Tsalala females has one 3 week old cub per reports from Elephant Plains. The Tsalala females are trying to keep the Mapogo Males away from the den site as they fear for the cub's safety even though they have been mating with Mapogo Males recently as well as previously in November 2007.
Tsalala Pride April 2008 & Approximate date of birth:
BB "Tsalala Mother" - January 1998
BB's Sub Adult Son - July 2005
BB's 1 Cub - Dec 2007/Jan 2008
BB's 2 Daughters - December 2003
1 Female Cub - April 2006 or July 2006
1 Cub - Feb/Mar 2008
This last cub may have been lost as there has been no recent sightings of this cub.
Really enjoyed reading through this 'history' though don't think I can remember it all. It just seems totally awesome that you are able to find out all these details
about the lions and cubs.
Noted with some pride that 'BB' still seems to be thriving!! lol. Long may she reign!!
Have been somewhat puzzled by the members who go on the drives who
have been chanting for sightings of the lions and their cubs. Of course it is always a most wonderful sighting usually, but maybe, just now, we are all thinking about ourselves, and what we want.
If Pieter, Rexon or Marco take us to the 'hiding' place, the other trucks with the paying tourists etc would soon follow. The lions would no longer be safe, as their predators would soon cotton on to what was happening.
I've heaved a sigh of relief at the termination of each drive and no lions have been seen. Long may this continue until the cubs are strong enough to fend off predators for themselves, however long this might be.
Most of you know far more about the life of lions and 'big' cats than I do, and maybe the worries I've expressed are totally unfounded.
Your knowledgeable comments are eagerly awaited.
Hi BB, be assured that the Rangers have very strict regulations about viewing cubs. If they should happen on the den sight with very young cubs where the Mother hidden them, they leave and lock it down. When the cubs get some age on them, they still restrict the number of vehicles (usually 1) to the sighting and for only 10 - 15 minutes or less depending on how comfortable the cubs and/or mom are with them being there.
Most of the cubs the viewers are talking about are older cubs that travel with the prides. They are seen on kills and moving around the area once their mom feels they are old enough to be introduced to the pride and can travel with them in relative safety.
Usually, the cubs have been acclimated to the vehicles thru very short sightings but if any show distress the rangers will pull out. Their main concern is for the comfort and safety of the animals they are viewing.
Of course, there is aways danger for cubs of any age even the sub-adults but the last thing any ranger wants to do is put them in any stressful or dangerous situation.
Thanks for the comment, and for answering my queries, Aquila.
I couldn't believe for one minute that the rangers would do anything that would cause any animal to be distressed.
I'd just been following comments which seemed to indicate that there might be very young cubs about, and didn't understand why some of the members were
getting somewhat agitated because they had not seen the lions, and so badly wanted to.
Thanks for re-assuring me about the safety of the animals as far as the Djuma Drives are concerned.
But how I hate this 'prey V predator' scene.
Have a very enjoyable 'Holiday'.
Hi Penzi, I don't know much except what I heard on the drive. Two males that Pieter believes aren't much older than 4 yrs old. Believed to be coming down from Manyeleti. The somewhat larger of the two, with the darker fuller mane, Pieter compared to the size of the Mapogos in terms of bulk and thinks once it matures will be quite an impressive lion. He suspects they are brothers and they were following buffalo towards Torchwood.
That's about all I can tell ya. Wish we knew more but I bet we learn more if they stay in the area. :)
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