Ashanti and her cubs join the pride after a long absence

3 01 2012

On Tuesday (27 December) morning we found Nala, Narnia and AT1 all resting in ever-popular Etosha.  Close by, in the shade of a large tree, lay a lioness and her cubs but to our joy the lioness in question was not Kenge, it was Ashanti and her two beautiful and healthy cubs, making a trip out to visit the pride for the very first time! It had been some time since we last saw Ashanti’s cubs, the last time being early December before Ashanti moved her den site to another secret location.   The two young cubs played together, tumbling over one another, all the while staying close to mum.  Ashanti, perhaps feeling that a brief morning visit was just long enough to have her young away from home, returned her cubs to the safety of their den and by midday she had come back to spend some time relaxing with the rest of the pride.

However it was now Kenge’s turn to bring along some new faces and she rested close by to Ashanti, Nala, Narnia, AT1 and Milo while KE3 and KE4 amused themselves with the natural toys they found lying about.  As the clouds rolled in and a thunder storm took hold an enormous thunderclap startled young KE3 and KE4 and they bolted off in different directions to escape the deafening sound, leaving Kenge not knowing which one to chase after first.

Later that day Kenge and her cubs moved on to Masai Mara where Milo was resting.  His peace and quiet was to be short-lived as KE3 and KE4 decided that dad was to be their new play thing.  The youngsters approached Milo, sneaking up behind him and nibbling on his tail.  They even managed to climb onto his back for a few moments, before he would turn quickly causing them to bounce off!  After a while of being used as a springboard Milo decided he had had enough and when he snarled at the two pestering playmates Kenge in turn snarled at Milo, protective of her naturally playful cubs.

On Wednesday (28 December) morning the whole pride, with the exception of the cubs, were resting in Kruger.  Just before midday a herd of impala made an unlucky decision to walk straight into the path of the Ngamo lions.  Phyre and AT1 rested on the path while the other pride members were taking shade in a nearby tree on the corner of Forest Drive. One unfortunate impala headed directly into the bush where a lioness was waiting and she pounced at the antelope missing it by inches.  As all the action happened just as our researcher approached the pride it is difficult to say which of our females made the first move, but we suspect it was Ashanti followed swiftly by Kwali and Kenge.  As the girls gave chase and we attempted to follow them into the dense area of Treetops the unmistakable sound of a feeding frenzy was heard.  Success! It was Kenge and Kwali who managed to get their claws in first and the pair made off into the bushes seizing the majority of the impala.  Narnia and Ashanti grabbed themselves a small portion but unlucky Nala, Phyre, AT1 and Milo were unfortunately left to go hungry.  AT1, not accustomed to missing out while dad is around, tried her very best creeping tactics as Ashanti ate her lunch, only to be swiped on the nose by the annoyed lioness.

Thursday (29 December) was a much more subdued day in Ngamo with Kwali, Kenge and her cubs resting at waterhole 1. As Kwali and Kenge slept off the action from yesterday lively KE3 and KE4 made their own fun, playing with branches and chewing on an old tree stump.

By late afternoon Kwali had moved on from her sister and joined Nala, Narnia, Phyre, and AT1 who were resting in Treetops.  Kwali, the low-ranking lioness who does not often get the best seat in the site, snuggled up to Narnia and Nala where they remained as the sun began to set.

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5 responses

3 01 2012
Joyce Kinton

Awwww such a busy Pride….I can just imagine what Kenge was thinking when her babes took off !!!
Thanks for the lovely pics, as always so informative xxx

3 01 2012
Jill Rees

Just look at that look of pride on Milo’s face. He may find the KE’s annoying but he is the proud father.
Lovely pictures!

4 01 2012
slovakianchic

As usual love reading the post – everything looks so green and love the shot of Milo and cub. I actually gave up my other lion shot (that I took) for this one in the flowers. Great job.

4 01 2012
Karen Everest

Those pictures are amazing, this pride is doing so well i know the other group are too but i have a soft spot for Milo x

4 01 2012
Greentracker

I have a good collection of wild life books, and yes, Born Free amongst them, but these Ngamo posts, I believe reign supreme for interest.
Concise accounts of the prides everyday life and it all happening within days. I especially enjoyed the write up of 27th-28th Dec and could picture little KE3 & KE4 being startled by the thunder, I can only imagine the chase but these words made it real for me. It’s better than television.!!
I too loved the picture of Milo looking at his cub, but I have to give praise to the one of Kenge with KE4 pulling tongues at KE3. (There has to be a caption there somewhere.) Well done again to your research team and thank you.

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