13 07 2011

As the wind howled and the rain drizzled on Monday morning, our team set out in to the release site hoping that time spent with the lions would make up for the weather. And they certainly weren’t disappointed.

Shortly after entering the site they came across Milo wondering along the boundary fence in Tree Tops. He met up with Phyre, Kwali, Nala, Narnia and Ashanti and they proceeded to head in to the grass.

No more than five minutes had passed when the females began stalking. Kwali silently closed in on a steenbok, no more than 8 metres away from her. Nala and Narnia followed and Ashanti started to flank to the left. Within seconds Kwali was chasing the small antelope (around 10kg); and heading in our direction! A fast moving Kwali knocked it off it’s feet and Nala and Narnia were soon on the case, grabbing hold of the prey and pulling it to the ground. Ashanti moved in and the girls settled down the feed alongside Phyre, all this taking place just a few metres away from our researchers!

However the girls had barely taken a few mouthfuls before Milo arrived on the scene. He laid claim to the prize and chased away the females. Well, all but Phyre who wasn’t giving up so easily and lay on top of the carcass alongside Milo growling and snarling.  Neither seemed willing to give up and the two of them lay there in the same position for the next hour and a half, barely eating but defending what they each wanted.

Regular readers of our blog will know that Phyre, much like Milo, takes little part in hunting but always gets her share of the efforts of others.  This is a common survival strategy by some female lions within prides, and a well known strategy of males.

The dispute must have eventually been settled however, as when our researchers investigated the scene during the mid morning session all that remained of the kill was part of one leg.

After being pushed off the kill, the other girls moved off to waterhole three and made do with the remains of an old zebra kill. Nala and Narnia seemed quite content to munch on the head whilst the others eyed up some impala that were feeding not too far away.




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