Up in the trees

14 04 2011

Its the morning of 10th April, and as the sun rises the familiar shapes of Ashanti, Nala, Narnia, Phyre and Athena appear on a march from Serengeti East area through the Mara and into the Amboseli area.  As they settle down the youngster engages in play with Narnia.

Milo joins the girls during the mid-morning whilst Kwali is discovered on her own in the Tree Tops area; clear the other side of the site.

Kenge is with her two cubs who have discovered the joys of tree climbing.

Back at the main pride unit Athena’s cub is found playing with Ashanti whilst Athena with Phyre and Nala with Narnia all engage in a spot of vigorous face licking.

The scene is very similar through the 11th with lions coming and going from the main pride and Athena’s cub playing variously with different pride members.

One interesting pattern that we are seeing is a correlation between an adult lions’ dominance position within the pride and their engagement in play with Athena’s cub.  63% of observed play has been with the pride’s least dominant members Nala & Narnia.  At the other end of the scale Milo and Phyre seem to be approached for play by the cub significantly less.   Whilst Nala and Narnia are also the high on the list of the pride’s most sociable cats anyway this correlation falls down given that Phyre is the most sociable lion but is not a lion the cub regularly plays with.  Is it possible the cub has already understood the relative dominance positions of its pride?

Phyre, Nala, Narnia, Athena and Ashanti were observed attempting to hunt impala.  One lion circled around and started a chase to push the prey into the waiting ambush by the other four females; but the hunt proved to be unsuccessful.  Nala has been seen limping and may have pulled a muscle in the hunt.

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