Ashanti & Athena on the move

10 06 2011

While most of the pride continued to feed on what was left of their zebra kill today (8th June), sisters Athena and Ashanti gave our research team a bit of a run-around Ngamo. We followed Ashanti, Athena and AT1 leaving the zebra carcass and their pride members early morning and cutting across into the Serengeti East area. As important as it is to be able to observe our pride for data collection purposes when the lions move off into the bush we try to keep to the designated roads of Ngamo in our vehicle to prevent damage to vegetation and subsequently altering the habitat in the long run. This meant whizzing around the open grass plains in hope of catching up with Athena on her detour. Fortunately one of our volunteers spotted a static Athena in the Hwange area and a large heard or zebra passing right in front of her unbeknown to the impending danger. Athena slipped into the long grass, down wind of the trailing zebra line and began to creep towards the sub-adults sheltered in the middle of the herd. The chase was on! Athena bolted from her cover once they were within 15m and headed straight into the herd. During the commotion she managed to separate one sub-adult.  The speedy youngster got away – probably due to Athena’s humongous belly slowing her down somewhat! In the meantime Ashanti had disappeared elsewhere. Later that afternoon we caught up with her in Etosha alone and appearing restless under a small bush. This behaviour is what our researcher has been expecting. As she draws closer to her due date Ashanti will begin to separate herself from her pride and begin to search for an ideal den to give birth within. We look forward to observing her progress during this exciting time!

As we have reported, this morning (10th June) our research team heard the unmistakable sound of cubs (plural) coming from an area in Hwange, near where Athena had her cubs.

Telemetry tells us that Ashanti is in there with an unknown number of tiny lions.  We will leave the family be and hope to see them when they emerge in several weeks time.  Good luck with your parenting Ashanti; your first litter!

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2 responses

12 06 2011
Bob

Just wondering is Ashanti or Phyre the leader of the group at the moment?

13 06 2011
africanlionenvironmentalresearchtrust

Hi Bob. If we take the data from mid-April, the point that AT1 permanently joined the pride, and thus may have impacted the social grouping in some way, we can see that Phyre is still proving to be the leader but to a lesser extent than previously. Athena has dropped towards the bottom of the pile. Is it possible that she is approached by the other females for greeting less due to the presence of the cub, thus placing a skew on the data? Who knows!

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