Tsalala/Marthy Male AKA "Solo" - Territory is mainly Mala Mala,
Elephant Plains, Londolozi
"Solo" was born in July 2005. He was one of four cubs
(3 male, 1 female) born to "BB", the oldest surviving lioness of
the Tsalala/Marthly Pride. She is easily identified by having no
tail. Solo has two older sisters that have played a big part in his
Sired by: The Split Rock/Marthly/Robson Males
In December 2005, "BB", Solo's Mother, was thought to have
been in a fight with Hyenas. The altercation left her with no tail,
bitten off close to the base. She survived but by March 2006 only
Solo and one of his brothers remained alive.
Late in December 2006, Solo's brother was killed by the
Roller Coaster/Shaw/Castleton males.
Solo has been protected from the attacks of the Mapogo/Eyrefield
Males as well as other male lions trying to take over the Tsalala
pride by both his Mother and his older Sisters. Reports indicate BB
has fought off the oldest Mapogo Male when he would threaten and
chase Solo. His Sisters took him in tow many times along with their
surviving sub adult female. He would hide when the Mapogos were
near and the Sisters would call him out or fetch him when it was
safe. They provided his nourishment and as safe an environment
possible during these traumatic times brought on by the Mapogo
Coalition of six male lions.
Eventually, Solo could no longer depend on his pride protecting
him. They had fallen under the control of the Mapogos and he seemed
to disappear for awhile.
Early 2009, a young male lion attached himself to the
Eyrefield Pride which consisted of 3 adult lionesses and 9 sub
adult cubs. Eventually he was accepted into this pride and even
accepted by the dominant male the old Roller Coaster Male. This
youngster was eventually identified as being Solo.
The pride he joined was comprised of 2 of the Mapogos Sisters along
with one older lioness possibly the Mother of some of the Mapogos.
This did not keep him safe from the advances of the Mapogos
In April of 2009, the Mapogos began attacks on the Eyrefield
Pride. These attacks continued into May. Many times the pride being
split up for days. Fortunately, all the adult lionesses, Solo and
the old Roller Coaster Male survived these attacks. Two of the sub
adult cubs sadly did not.
Currently, Solo, the Eyrefield Pride and the Roller Coaster
male are thought to have fled Mala Mala. They are believed to be in
the Londolozi/Dudley/Nottens areas.
As of the first part of June 2009, it is still believed that
Solo is with the Eyrefield Pride. Reported by Mala Mala that the
pride took down an adult Giraffe with the help of Solo and the
June 10th report indicated all were accounted for with the
exception of the Rollercoaster Male.
June 12th - 26th sightings by Ulusaba - Though no specific
date was given, the entire Eyrefield Pride was said to be in
Ulusaba. Smack in the middle of Mapogo and the Ximungwe Pride's
territory. Ulusaba listed the count for the pride as 12 which
included one Male lion. Assuming the count was correct, the Roller
Coast male and the young Tsalala male should both have been in
attendance. A photo showing the pride in Ulusaba clearly shows that
indeed Solo was with them.
June 24th 2009 - The entire Eyrefield Pride including Solo
were found near Lion Loop in Mala Mala resting up. Only the old
Roller Coaster Male was missing. As dusk approached the pride got
active. Heading towards the Sand River they came across a Buffalo
Herd that was just leaving the river area. The lions took the
opportunity to follow the herd across the Sand River. They closed
the gap on some stragglers but soon were noticed by the herd's rear
guard bulls. Three large bulls turned to face off with the lions.
For quite some time the pride played cat and mouse with the bulls
and began to slowly wear them down. Luckily, the bulls caught on to
the lions strategy and returned to the safety of the herd. With the
herd now tightly grouped the lions could not penetrate them.
Finally they charged the herd sending them stampeding in the hopes
of some stragglers they could take down but this did not play out
for them. The pride finally gave up and rested. The next day,
25th, the pride was again located and were looking lean. By
mid day they move out of the Mala Mala viewing area.
Solo is said to be maturing into a beautiful, strong male lion.
Let's hope this brave youngster can survive and find his niche
within the lion dynamics.
January 1st, 2010 - Solo lost his buddy. The death of the
Rollercoaster Male has impacted so many.
Rollercoaster male – 1 January 2010
Mala Mala lost a stalwart today -the Rollercoaster Male lion has
died. He had been lying in the buffalo pans area for the past three
days and was severely emaciated. He had mange on his shoulders and
infected bite marks on his rump. He was 12 years old.
On the recommendation of the State Veterinarian in Kruger Park, the
difficult decision was taken to euthanize him and so at 5pm on the
1st January 2010, this was carried out. The Rollercoaster Male
Lions were one of the most successful male coalitions on MalaMala
Game Reserve. They first took over the Charleston pride and
produced a successful litter of cubs - two of these which have now
matured and are referred to as the Golf Course Males. They moved
north and took control of the Eyrefield pride and seven out of the
ten cubs fathered by them are now 2 ½ years old. Following the
death of his 'partner' in 2007, the single Rollercoaster Male then
took control of the Styx pride and produced 13 cubs. However the
Mlowathi males started putting pressure on him for control of the
Styx pride and his cubs bore the brunt of this feud. There are
still four of his cubs left in the pride. They are 18 months old
and we hope that they can hold out and reach maturity.
Looking back through our records we have noted that the
Rollercoaster males were also mating with some of the Eyrefield
females when the two Mlowathi males were produced - so in a twist
of fate worthy of the big screen the Rollercoaster Male might have
lost power and control to his own kin.
Dr Bengis, the State Vet from Skukuza confirmed during an autopsy
that old age, exacerbated by a TB infection, was the cause of his
ill-health. His kidneys and adrenal gland showed signs of
infection. It would be accurate to say that given his old age and
poor physical condition he would be hard pressed to survive and
even finding food by scavenging would be difficult for him. He was
no longer a territorial male and would be avoiding other coalitions
of male lions. http://www.malamala.com/wildlife.htm
As of April 22nd 2010, Solo is still alive and well. Growing
into a massive and beautiful male lion. He and his adopted family
of the Eyrefield pride have had some harsh times running from the
two Mapogo males known as Kinky Tail and Mr. T but they have
survived. Many times split up into smaller groupings. Two of the
three adult Eyrefield females have been mating with the two Mapogo
males for the last few months leaving Solo with one adult female
and the sub adults. Seen in Mala Mala today were 10 Eyrefield pride
members including Solo and all looking good. The one missing adult
female was seen on her own but also doing quite well.
Update July 9, 2010 - Solo is still traveling with the 7
Eyrefield/Sparta sub adults. Though not looking well fed lately
that seems to have changed with a recent buffalo kill in Djuma and
a giraffe kill further south on private lands. So far, Solo and his
troop seem to have stayed out of the way of the new Majingilane
coalition that now consists of 4 young males after the death of one
on June 8th.
A few weeks back while hunting buffalo in Londolozi, Solo and the 7
sub adults ran into the three adult lionesses of their pride. They
gave up the buffalo hunt and enjoyed a happy family reunion for the
night prior to the adult lionesses having to return to their young
Update October 2010 - Solo, the young Tsalala male, is still
with the seven sub adults and one adult lioness. They seem to be
doing very well. Andrew from Mala Mala relayed a sighting of them
hunting buffalo on the 25th Oct. Seems the pride attacked the herd
at night, buffalo running everywhere. A cow smashed away half a
termite mound trying to kill the lion on her back. The big male
(Solo) ran slam into a dead tree branch with a buffalo on his tail.
They finally brought down a calf but the herd kept running them off
until finally the herd gave up after a 10 minute standoff and the
lions got their meal after all.
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