Tsalala Young Male
Tsalala Young Male - "Solo"
Please remember the information is pieced together from Sighting Reports and Newsletters from Mala Mala, Londolozi, Djuma, Savanna, Nkorho, Elephant Plains, Singita, Exeter, Arathusa, Ulusaba, Inyati, Wildwatch, Idube, Leopard Hills, Simbambili along with helpful Rangers and staff at the various lodges and reserves answering questions sent their way. Some of the information may be conflicting.
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 survival.
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 however.
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 Rollercoaster Male.
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 onto 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 cubs.
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.
Here is a similar sighting but during the daytime at Londolozi. Their blog about it from Sept. 2010 - http://blog.londolozi.com/2010/09/buffalo-thrills-and-lion-kills/ and the video (Warning Graphic) Note the big male with the full mane... that is Solo. What a beautiful strong lion.
Seems the Eyrefield Pride, with Solo's at the helm, are becoming the Buffalo Hunters once again!
Videos by jednaxle of "Solo", his Mother "BB", and her 3 plus month old cub that later disappeared. From Mid 2008:
January 2010 - Amazing footage of the Eyrefield Pride on a giraffe carcass with Crocodiles wanting some. Presented by Londolozi Game Reserve.
Lions vs Crocodiles for Giraffe Startling Footage
By Aquila & Karen in VA