Milo did what?

6 07 2011

First of all we apologize for the recent gaps in coverage.  This is due to David’s computer dying and needing some TLC.  Secondly, we also have to inform you that ASM1 was found dead on the morning of 2nd July.  We do not have an answer yet as to why.  Ashanti has already been seen mating, which coincides with the right timing based on her whole litter dying when we knew the other two cubs disappeared.  This leads us to consider that she had in fact abandoned the whole litter from the get-go and ASM1 survived longer as he was stronger, but also because he had access to Athena’s milk.  As we have said many times this was all expected given that these females were having their first litters.  However, now all four breeding females have been through the process once.  Athena managed to keep AT1 and Kenge, Phyre and Ashanti have all mated again in the past week or so.  We can therefore expect a whole creche to be born in 3 – 3.5 months time with a higher survival rate, although still likely only 40%, as is normal for lions.

Now, back to the timeline…

As usual we set out to conduct our monthly game count on the 29th June. We drove down into Masai Mara after spotting a small herd of impala and zebra in the distance and we soon discovered the Ngamo pride had also spotted the elusive game before us.

As the lionesses fanned out through the open grassed plains we obtained a vantage point from the hill of Serengeti West and watched with baited breath. As Nala and Narnia disappeared into the distance of Serengeti East, Athena demonstrated the art of stalking to AT1. A lone zebra, separated from their herd during a chase from Kenge trotted within meters of mother and cub. AT1 appeared mesmerised by mother’s precision and care through the tall grass edging closer to her prey. Unfortunately, already spooked, the zebra ran out of reach further into Masai Mara to rejoin the anxious herd.

On the 30th our camp manager met us beaming on the way into Ngamo claiming to have heard a kill being made in the Tree Tops area during a boundary patrol. We raced through the gate and down into the scrub and found some suspicious blood stains upon the lionesses but no sign of a carcass. Finally after some nifty telemetry work we followed strong signal into the grass of Tree Tops to find most pride members feeding upon an impala kill! As always with impala not much was left upon our arrival but our team was extremely pleased to see the Ngamo pride change the menu for once!

On the 1st we found Phyre again in the Tree Tops area by water hole 3, again covered in blood stains. Surely our lions were not lacking in hygiene now and not grooming?? This was certainly not the case. We followed Phyre and Narnia moving into the tall grass and found the remains of a zebra kill not far from the previous days impala dish.

It would appear the pride have found and ideal hunting spot here and remained for the rest of the day lounging in the sun.

By late afternoon a resident herd of zebra was seen loitering amongst the scrub and dangerously close to the sleeping lions. Phyre surprisingly was the one who picked up the scent and began the hunt. She, Nala, Narnia and Kenge disappeared into the bush whilst Milo, Ashanti, Athena and Kwali slept. Suddenly the herd stampeded towards the water hole rudely awakening Milo. We repositioned our vehicle to observe the herd and witnessed what we all thought was impossible. Ashanti quick to her paws sprinted after the fleeing zebra closing in upon a sub-adult lagging behind the adults and Milo too charged towards the culprit who awoke him. We lost visual but suddenly heard the frantic yelps of a zebra in dire trouble! We raced around and found Milo suffocating the sub-adult with a perfect throat hold whilst Ashanti and Athena began to open up the best parts of the zebra during its last struggling breaths!

Not only was this the first kill ever witnessed by our researcher but probably the first kill ever made by the King of Ngamo! We take off our hats to the alpha male for providing for his ladies in such a fantastic manner.




One response

6 07 2011
Joyce Kinton

So good to have you back with us…..a tale of two sides I think…
Poor little ASM has been lost to us and the pride, we feel loss but they dont seem to… you say cubs born to a first time MUm are in danger and we hope the cubs born will survive, at least some of them…
So its back to square one for the lionesses…
I still squirm when I read about a “kill”….feel kinda sorry for the zebras they are part of the food chain so the lions can survive…
Theyre becoming very good at catching their prey and thats important….

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