AT1 goes missing

25 09 2011

The last few days have been quite hectic for the researchers and Ngamo pride alike.  The researchers entered the release site early on Saturday (24th September) morning to find Milo, Athena, Ashanti, Nala, Narnia and Kwali resting happily in Kruger.  Initially the researchers thought that AT1 was also present and therefore assumed excitedly that maybe Kenge and Phyre had finally decided to go off and den for their probable imminent cub births.  However, things were soon about to change as the researchers became aware that AT1 was in fact not present with the group.  The research team assumed she was probably just hanging out with Phyre and Kenge?  However, the behaviour of Athena started to worry them as the lioness walked towards Tree Tops seemingly in search of something; she started to smell the ground, the air and look around her.  Other lionesses and even Milo joined in, sniffing around.  Were they searching for their youngest pride member?

Milo headed back towards Kruger by himself and the rest of the females joined him.  The researchers followed Athena as she left to make her way on her own up Route 66 towards Leopard tree.  There, she became more and more agitated, circling around and sniffing the grass all around her.  She eventually met up again with the rest of the females, including Phyre and Kenge, by Crossroads; but still no AT1.  Again, all females seemed to be searching for something and we started to be seriously concerned for AT1.  Had she been taken by a python of which some huge ones are known to be in the area?  The researchers reluctantly left the site as their morning research session had finished, only to return an hour later to continue the search for AT1.  They found the females resting in Hwange with Athena vigilant to any sound around her.  The researchers decided to try driving around to look for AT1 but had no luck.  When they returned for the afternoon session, AT1 was still not present and none of the females were in an area we could get a visual.  Milo was seen a number of times by himself walking the boundary of his territory and scent marking.  Eventually, just before the researchers were going to give up, they came across the females at Spaghetti Junction.  Alas, AT1 had still not been found, and Athena was still searching.  At one point Athena stopped to gnaw on a two-month-old zebra leg with barely any flesh left on it.  She must have been up for most of the day trying to locate her lost cub and was extremely hungry and tired by this point.  Unfortunately as it was getting dark the researchers had to leave the site for safety reasons, leaving behind a tense pride still on the search for their lost cub.

A search party came out later that night armed with a flashlight to help find the cub.  By this point, everyone was worried that the worst had happened to her.  However, between the time that the researchers had left and the search party arrived, AT1 had reappeared!  She was in Amboseli with some of the females including her mother and looked fit and healthy, and completely unaware of the concern that she had caused.

The next morning the researchers returned to find the entire pride resting in Amboseli.  Initially, Athena was very vigilant to any move that AT1 made, making sure that she kept an eye on her cheeky cub.  However, as the day went on and AT1 was back to her old tricks of trying to suckle from her mother, Athena grew tired of her nagging cub and let Nala and Narnia deal with her overly energetic activities.  Nala and Narnia spent most of the afternoon grooming and playing with AT1 – ever the great aunties that they are!  The researchers breathed a sigh of relief as all had returned to normal in the Ngamo Pride.





2 responses

25 09 2011
Joyce Kinton

Oh little stray away AT1 !!! causing Mum and her family like that !!
Its something children do, but its a heart beating time for those looking for them…
Soon there will be more babies to grow up and make even more mischeif !! \Cant wait xx

25 09 2011

Oh I was almost to the point of tears reading this when suddenly read that AT1 showed up – you shouldn’t do that to us!!. So pleased that little AT1 disapearance act has had no adverse affect on her – she caused my heart to race reading this article and goodness knows what her dad Milo would have done without her not forgetting her Mum and Aunties. Stay close AT1 and don’t do this again – YOU HEAR?!!

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