Weaning time for AT1, and she ain’t best pleased about it

14 09 2011

Entering the site on a beautiful summer’s morning on Saturday (10th September) the research team found Nala and Narnia feeding on what appeared to be a steenbok kill.  The majority of the carcass had already been consumed suggesting that they had been hunting during the early hours of the morning.  Milo was with the two sisters but didn’t seem particularly interested in the remains of the kill, nor did he look like he had already fed, suggesting that he had probably only just arrived on the scene.

The team left the three in peace and started to try and locate the other females. After a while searching we eventually found the rest of the pride walking along the boundary road of Etosha.  Nala, Narnia and Milo soon joined them and they all headed towards waterhole three.  There they stopped to rehydrate themselves before settling down to rest under the shady trees.  Whilst resting it appeared as if Nala may have been having nightmares as she kept waking up in a startle and scaring the other dozing members of the pride.

When the team returned in the afternoon the pride was in the middle of a mass social grooming session with practically everybody grooming everybody, except for Milo of course who was still zonked out a few metres away.

Interestingly AT1 was seen attempting to suckle her aunt Ashanti on several occasions, and even had a go with Narnia. Cubs are weaned between the age of six to eight months; and as AT1 is rapidly approaching eight months old it appears that she is trying to push her luck and figure out where else she can get some tasty milk from besides her mother whose supply will now be drying up.  Ashanti is not likely to be producing milk and soon had enough of the pesky youngster (who is sporting a fine set of sharp teeth with which to clamp on to a teat!) and kicked her off. Disgruntled, AT1 returned to her mother and desperately attempted to suckle her instead but after a few minutes Athena had also had enough and gave her a nip on the head to tell her daughter to behave. Clearly AT1 is not happy about having to move to a milk free diet!  Such is life.

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