A family hunts and feeds together

27 06 2011

We joined the whole pride in the Amboseli area on the 24th June. Most remained unconscious for the best part of the day until Athena picked up on the movements of a nearby impala herd. Consisting of open grassed areas and scrub habitat, Amboseli provides ideal hunting grounds for the lionesses.

Athena began to stalk stealthily towards the grazing herd melting into the tall, golden grass. Kwali, Nala, Narnia and Ashanti soon became vigilant to her movements and began to join the hunt. A conveniently placed thicket floating within the sea of grass provided an ideal hide for the lionesses to circle around and sneak through. Nala flanked to the left, downwind of the herd whilst sister Narnia crept into the thicket. Phyre finally awoke and observed the tactical movements of her pride members. The scene seemed to be set and she too crept into the grass awaiting further instructions from those on the frontline. Suddenly in unison Nala, Narnia and Athena gave chase. The herd dashed around the thicket out of Narnia’s reach but directly into Phyre’s firing line. Unfortunately though it seemed Phyre had not fully awoken and failed to react in time. Yet there was still one lioness in play. Although belly-up and asleep for most of the hunt Kenge soon sprung to attention and ran after the fleeing herd but to no avail.

On the 25th June hunting efforts were met with better results for the pride. Our research team braved the freezing early morning temperatures and tracked down the huntresses in the Masai Mara area at 4am. We observed fleeing impala in the distance and the darting of eyes gleaming in our red-filtered spot light. Our researcher is yet to witness a successful hunt and kill and it seemed her luck was maybe in. Unfortunately the lions disappeared deep into the darkness of Serengeti West and following could have potentially interfered with the hunt.

Yet the sun was finally beginning to rise so we raced back to camp for a quick coffee and restock of blankets and returned 30mins later for our next research session. We returned to the area we had left the lions and an overwhelming wave of regret spilled over the team. They had made a kill…and we had missed it…again! We had to remind ourselves that witnessing such an event, even in a semi-wild environment, was a based purely upon luck. We settled instead for some fantastic photo opportunities of AT1 tucking in alongside dad whilst mum and the other females battled over feeding positions.

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2 responses

27 06 2011
Tracey

Looks as though AT1 is fitting in well, if she can take her place beside Milo, at mealtimes! So cute!!

27 06 2011
Joyce Kinton

It does seem so sad when we see pics of how the pride are completly unaware of our feelings to another animal killed to give them their meal…..yet that is the way of it, they know no better and its a good sign the pride is making it in their wild envirorment….
I suppose we could see ourselves how we would feel aftr a good, hearty meal…..Its a great pic of the family and AT1 is GROWING so quickly !! xx

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