Snakes, scraps and close scrapes

15 03 2011

We joined up with the pride in the Valley area today (13th March) bellies up and paws limp with satisfaction. As we approached the sleeping lions, dodging the various anatomy of the unlucky zebra discarded all over the immediate area we accounted for all the pride members; including Kenge and Athena – all full to the brim. Whilst our females caught up on their beauty sleep Milo gnawed away upon the last scraps of meat on the zebra head.

We returned later in the afternoon to take a bi-monthly game count. This helps our research team to establish any kills that have been made whilst the team are absent from the site and where the lions have left the kill site before we see them again.   We found one group of zebra mixed with some impala around the Tree Tops area that were looking rather anxious.  We slowly headed down to hopefully find the pride still resting up in the Valley but signal indicated otherwise. It appeared the girls were on the move…towards the zebra…

We headed through the Valley and quickly past Leopard Tree avoiding low hanging branches and raced back to Tree Tops. With no zebra or lionesses to be seen once there our researcher pulled out the telemetry in an attempt to obtain a direction. Fortunately our sharp eyed volunteer spotted 3 pairs of ears pricked up underneath a thicket. Through our binos we observed Kwali and Nala appearing to be very vigilant compared to their normal midday day activity of sleeping. Both were also panting excessively; had we missed a chase?

We left the females in peace and headed off to continue our game count. After numerous impala, some steenbok and some zebra our driver spotted something a little unsuspected upon our count. Slithering along the fence was a HUGE rock python reaching over 3m. A fine specimen of a reptile, but also a formidable threat to our 5 new cubs.

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