Nature is a cruel mistress, never has this been more evident that the savage death of our Kalahari Lioness-Tswalu. In last month’s newsletter we were so happy to announce that we had good reason to believe that this magnificent specimen of a lioness had been showing signs of being suckled upon and therefore we had a new bloodline to strengthen the future genes of our lion population, then in one seemingly mundane whatsapp message sent by reserve management to all the guides a great sorrow was thrust upon the Nambiti Guiding family.
The message read “Just to let you know we have found Tswalu dead at Homestead dam yesterday. She had been dead for about 3 days. We are not sure how she died but suspect Phinda and the two boys were involved. No sign of the cubs” Firstly the lioness, Phinda, has been renamed Nandi for the last year or so and her 2 boys are now 2 ½ year old male lions and full of their fathers’ genes and fierce temperament. Rivalry between competing lions is an unrelentingly vicious circle, competition for food, territory and the continuation of keeping the bloodlines flowing; Tswalu was probably set upon by these 3 lions with no chance of a fair fight in sight. The most tragic element of her untimely death is that she was showing signs of having given birth and even though her cubs where never seen by us – lionesses usually give birth to 3 – 4 cubs. These little lions will have no chance of survival without their mother to defend and feed them so it is inevitable that with her death Nambiti has lost 4 or 5 lions, and a new bloodline to boot. This has brought our lion population down to 9 individuals, a staggering contrast to the 16 lions we had just 3 months ago.
On the brighter side – the sightings are continuing to amaze our guests with the usual band of misfits being seen on a regular if not daily basis, an elusive leopard was even sighted on the 8th of this month, giving our guests and their ranger bragging right at the bar for a good while.
We look forward to keeping everyone informed about the goings on, on our reserve, until next time Keep Calm and Go On Safari to Nambiti.