The researchers may have located what appears to be Kenge’s den on Wednesday (12 October). She was spotted by the eagle-eyed driver close to Route 66 in Kruger, not far away from Phyre’s first den, and was sitting on a mound within a thicket. As the vegetation was so dense around the mound, it was not possible to get a visual of any cubs, but she appeared content and plump. We did not want to stick around long so as not to bother her, but returned again on Thursday (13 October) to find her perched on the same mound. Again, visibility was poor so no cubs were seen. By Friday (14 October), no lion could be seen on this mound and no sound of cubs calling was heard. It is possible that Kenge has moved her den to another location, as is common in the wild to cut down on the build-up of parasites and reduce the chance of predators finding the den.
Nothing seems to last forever, including in the Ngamo pride release site. Since observing what we presume to be Phyre’s last remaining cub being integrated well into the pride over the previous few days, things have changed again. On Wednesday (12 October) the researchers spent the whole morning and midday sessions without getting a visual of the cub. Then just as the researchers were about to leave (it always seems that action starts happening right before the end of the session!) a cub was heard calling approximately 70 m from the pride. The sun was starting to set, so it was difficult to get a visual of the cub, but eventually we found it. Some of the females had been seen to return to the pride from this direction, so it could be that they were attending to the cub. However, as the vehicle approached, the cub started to walk in the direction of the noise of the vehicle, and the rest of the pride. Possibly, the cub has is associating this stimulus with the location of the rest of the pride that are being observed.
During the next day (13 October) we could not locate the cub for the entire day. The pride were beginning to look hungry again and some of the lions were a bit more trim around the waistline than usual. Fortuitously, they came across a puku carcass at some point that night, and by Friday (14 October), had demolished most of it. Alas there was still no sight or sound of the little cub for each research session. But, the cub was seen again early on 15th October so we can only assume that it had been placed somewhere safe whilst the pride ate.