Finally, we bring you the first image of Athena’s cub…but hang on! what’s that?

8 03 2011

Not since the 21st of February have we had a visual of Athena’s cub; also her behaviour had us concerned that she may have lost that.  Read on….

Earlier in the morning (7th March) we snuck up upon a rather shady looking lioness, slinking off into the tall grass by water hole 2. We checked our telemetry signal to determine it was Athena; was she returning to her den? She remained flattened to the ground intently watching our vehicle, ears and tail flickering. Eventually she realized we posed no real threat and rose slowly to her paws. She gazed deep into the thicket and let out a soft, tender call. After two or three calls she disappeared into the vegetation and we heard the cry of a little cub. A lower, stronger pitch than that heard of Kenge’s cubs we are still estimating Athena’s cub to be approaching 7 weeks old.

We sat patiently in silence for sometime and heard the little lion call out repeatedly, obviously elated by mums return. We left the little family to track down the rest of the pride. We traipsed through the golden grass of Serengeti East but could not pin point their whereabouts. We tried again in the afternoon.  Combing through the grassy plains our signal indicated Athena had now joined the pride.  Had she also brought out her cub??

Eventually our researcher spotted the familiar smiling face of Kwali and saw a wild, flickering tail beneath a small bush. Our vehicle edged closer when our researcher yelled stop! Athena glared and bared her teeth 5m away from us while a little chubby cub peered out from behind her. We could not believe our luck, and all our worries surrounding her cub faded away. We prepared to reverse away from the two when Athena flopped onto her side quite contently to allow her cub to feed. Mum appeared to be beginning to accept our presence so we repositioned slowly and carefully to obtain a better view and catch some Kodak moments!

We spun around to the other side of the bush and instantly jaws dropped and eyes popped-ANOTHER CUB!! Nestling between Athena’s paws a second cub batted mum on the nose before scrambling onto her tummy to play with his or her sibling. By now our researcher’s camera shutter was moving at the speed of light with hands trembling with excitement. Both cubs looked a picture of health and Athena seemed to be glowing. We were also happy to see Ashanti, Kenge, Phyre and Milo resting nearby as we witnessed the cubs’ integration into the Ngamo pride. Will we be keeping you posted on their progress.

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One response

8 03 2011
malu

thanks, what brilliant news!

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