Not just fun and games

3 05 2011

While the Ngamo adults have been mostly sleeping the past few days AT1 has had to keep herself amused by any means possible, although not always to the approval of her elders.  Our team has closely been observing her play behaviour since her integration into the pride. Play behaviour is often used as an indicator of an animal’s welfare; the ‘happier’ the animal, the more they play.

It is thought play behaviour in many mammals aids the acquisition of adult skills and neuromuscular development. In the case of lions it would appear the main purpose of play is to establish and help maintain vital bonds between pride members required for life within a pride as an adult.

Studies have shown juveniles who engage in play with others have improved memory, coordination and social skills as an adult.

So although AT1’s interactions with her pride members maybe very entertaining for our observing research team, it is also extremely beneficial to her long-term development.

More often than not, we also see this infectious social behaviour spread amongst all the lions. AT1’s joining of the Ngamo pride really does seem to have put a spring in everyone’s step.




5 responses

3 05 2011
Joyce Kinton

Hi Every one…..I might be wrong, but the lion / lioness with AT1 looks very lean……is it right to see the ribs like that ?
I hope all the Pride is well and happy xx

3 05 2011
Holly Taylor

Oh my goodness, this lioness looks so terribly thin. You can see her ribs and bones on her back. Is she ill?

4 05 2011

Hi Holly, she is not ill, but you have to consider that raising a cub can take a lot out of the body. Also the pride achieved a lower hunting success during April than in previous months and this is reflected in lower body condition. Lions’ body condition can fluctuate for no specific reason as well. We have no doubt that Athena’s body condition will pick up again.

6 05 2011
Holly Taylor

Thanks for replying and reassurance – I should have realised that with her still feeding her cub would affect her physical appearance. I love this cub and this pride – you have done a fantastic job on the release programme and slightly envious that you have the privilege of seeing these magnificent cats in all their glory.

21 05 2011

big like! – thanks .

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