Location, Location, Location

2 06 2011

Each time the lions are observed we take note of their location.  We do the same when we are able to confirm the location of a kill.

This first map shows where the lions have been spending their time.  We can see that unsurprisingly the three waterholes are favoured, especially waterhole two in the centre of the site.  So are locations that give a view into Antelope Park.  This is because plenty of prey species roaming around the Park are visible from the release site and was to be expected given the limited funding available to us to provide a larger release area and more plentiful prey within it.

We know that the lions often take a route from Amboseli to waterhole two and then in a diagonal path through Serengeti East, along the south of Hwange to get to The Valley area and this is reflected in the mapping.  The very open grass area of Masai Mara and Serengeti West and much of Hwange are frequented less due to the lack of shade in these areas.

Our second map shows known kill locations with symbols denoting the species killed at that location.  The big problem with this data is that for smaller animals, such as impala and duiker or steenbok we very rarely locate the kill site as the animal is consumed so quickly and very little remains afterwards.  These species are also most often found in the densest parts of the site and, presumably, are most likely killed in those areas as well, making it even harder to find any carcass. We know a kill has occurred because game counts tells us what animals are missing and of course the lions themselves are physically fatter and behaviorally lazier.  But where the kill took place is often unknown.  It is clear that the lions, as predators in fenced reserves do all over Africa, have been using the fence to assist in some instances.  When we find a kill site near a fence we always check the fence for signs of indentation to see whether the lions have driven the animal into the fence or used the fence as a way to cut off escape routes.  In most cases the latter is the case, although the use of the fence has definitely lessened over time, with more kills made in the centre of the site

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