And then there were nine!

22 02 2011

As many of you may have already heard our research team made the ultimate discovery yesterday morning.

Most of our lions had been playing hide and seek with us in the tall grasses of the Serengeti area for the last few sessions, so our team decided to take a direct approach in the afternoon and brave the wilderness off-road!

Whilst following a radio signal for Athena, Kwali and Phyre along Route 66, in the Etosha area of Ngamo, we continued towards a thicket some 20m in the grass. With binos at the ready our researcher peered deep into the thicket and finally spotted two golden ears. The vehicle came to a halt as we prepared to settle in and record our data upon what we thought were the threesome socializing.

Our researcher noticed Athena was certainly not her placid, happy self. She repositioned herself to face our vehicle, crouching with all teeth bared. It then became very apparent why she was so aggressive. A small golden, chubby, bundle of fur was seen clambering upon her hindquarters-Ngamo’s first cub!!!

Tears of joy and gaping jaws began to follow and we quickly turned upon our heels to give the mother and cub some space. As much as we would have loved to have been able to share this moment with you with a photo, Athena has made it more than clear our presence is not wanted. Caring for her first ever cub and introducing it to her pride members is stressful enough without our vehicle invading their privacy, so we will all have to wait with baited breath for the first photos of Ngamo’s new member.

Our visit to the site today indicated Athena, Phyre and Kwali were all still located within the thicket. We suspect that perhaps Athena has begun to allow her pride members to meet her new little one. If our due dates were correct, the cub could perhaps be as old as 5 weeks, around the age when a mother will bring her cubs back to the pride for the first time.

As our session progressed though, we noted Phyre and Kwali join the other pride members and Athena to have maybe moved off some 400m to another thicket along Route 66.

We will be monitoring her movements to update you all regularly, and keeping all eyes peeled for our new little shumba!

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