Everyone has foibles

31 08 2011

Monday (29th August) was a lazy day for the Ngamo pride. After an early morning failed hunt on zebra and impala, the pride moved in to the Etosha area of the site and settled down to sleep in the shade.

With all the lions lying flat out in long grass or in an area where we cannot get too close it is sometimes quite difficult to make positive identifications of each individual on body characteristics alone, especially when only an ear or tip of a tail is visible. It is therefore important that the research team get to know the behavioural characteristics of each lion to help make confirmed IDs for data collection purposes.

When the team arrived for the mid morning session, they noticed one lion sleeping on her back with her front paws resting on her chest and her back legs stretched right out. This is Kenge’s typical sleeping pose and sure enough, when the lioness raised her head later in the session the team were able to confirm it was in fact Kenge.

Narnia also has a quirky character trait that often helps to identify her; she regularly attempts to catch flies! If the flies start to irritate her when she is attempting to rest, her head will quickly lift up and she will snap at them.  She seems to be the only lioness to do this, although the team have witnessed AT1 also practising her fly catching skills on a few occasions.

These type of behaviours play an important role in identifying the lions, and without knowing these individual traits identifying who is who would be much more difficult.

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