It seems as if AT1 has decided that she’s a big lioness now. After the heart attack she almost caused the researchers a few days ago when she wandered off on her own for a whole day only to return as if nothing had happened that same night, she once again decided to try out the single life on Monday (26th September). The entire pride minus the cub were observed all day in Amboseli and Etosha, but this time, it seemed as if Athena had realised that her offspring could survive perfectly fine on her own, as she was not exhibiting any signs of distress (unlike just two days previously!).
The pride, complete with AT1, were observed on Tuesday (27th September) looking very hungry and agitated in Etosha, where they spent most of the day extremely vigilant to any stimulus smelled, seen or heard. They have not made a big kill for some time now, but a few females have clearly been sneaking off to secretly hunt impala, as they have come back with tell-tale signs of blood on their faces – just like kids that have raided the cookie jar and have chocolate smeared over themselves! On Wednesday (28th September) the pride was on a large carcass in Masai Mara that would serve the entire pride quite well for breakfast, lunch and dinner that day.
The researchers watched the pride feed and rest at the carcass for the duration of Wednesday, with the occasional trip to the waterhole to quench the thirst. Feisty AT1 fed on the carcass in the afternoon next to her dad, Milo. Initially it seemed as if he didn’t mind sharing his dinner, but as time went by, he started to voice his dissatisfaction with low growls that turned into loud objections. Athena started to appear concerned that Dad might get into a fight with her cub so she came over to softly call AT1 away. Now that AT1 thinks she’s a proper lioness, what with all these adventures she’s been on by herself, she stood her ground with Milo and boldly stole a rack of ribs from him – his favourite part of the kill – before making her getaway! What a cheeky monkey she can be! Athena seemed very proud of her cub as she then went to go sit with AT1 and her pilfered supper. AT1 then even had the audacity to biff her mum around the face when Athena tried to steal a morsel to eat! This cub is certainly growing up fast and the researchers are sure she will be quite some lioness!