Watch out Nala & Narnia, there’s a new hunter on the block

15 01 2012

Saturday (8th January) was a bit of a day for hunting indeed.  On arrival into the site in the morning we caught a glimpse of a lioness chasing zebra in Masai Mara but the chase was unrewarding and the zebra managed to run to safety.  Giving up for the time being Narnia walked along Route 66 towards waterhole 1 and as we spotted Kwali we noticed that she was holding something in her mouth.  On approaching her further we were surprised to see that it was none other than a tortoise that had unfortunately caught her attention!  Kwali crunched at its shell and began to eat but after a few moments she soon lost interest and left the tortoise on the ground and walked away.  Narnia, who was returning from a quick drink at waterhole 1, came to investigate Kwali’s discovery but she too obviously didn’t fancy tortoise for breakfast and after sniffing at it she also walked away.   Further into the site, resting in Etosha, we found Phyre, Ashanti and AT1.  The trio remained there for the whole morning and by lunchtime, as the lions were lazing in the shade, the zebra had travelled slowly towards them grazing as they went.  AT1, never engaging in a hunt of her own before, instantly sat up and watched the zebra that were around 60 metres away.  She rose to her feet and began to stalk towards them, her shoulders high and looking like a proper little lion.  Aunt Ashanti, together with Phyre, monitored her progress as she stalked towards the zebra for around 20 metres and then burst into an exciting chase, running and almost reaching the zebra only missing out by around 4 or 5 metres.  It was an attempt for the soon-to-be one year old and it just goes to show that hanging out with hunters extraordinaire Nala and Narnia so much has finally started to pay off. 

On Sunday (9th January) we found Kenge and her cubs out for a morning stroll, on their way to meet up with the rest of the pride.  The whole pride was in Etosha and sleeping as the sun began to heat the day.   Kenge soon arrived with KE3 and KE4 and after a few playful moments from the cute cubs KE4 approached Ashanti and began to suckle from her.  This is entirely normal, as cubs will often seek to take advantage of any lactating female in the pride – they’re just lucky that Ashanti tolerated them! 

As the day wore on so did the pride’s sleepiness and they all continued to doze together for the rest of the afternoon, including KE3 and KE4 proving that they have now been fully accepted by the Ngamo pride – Ashanti sleeping so deeply her snoring reverberated around the area.  By early evening and as the temperature cooled the lazy lions slowly began to wake and after a grooming session between Kenge and Ashanti with KE3 trying to join in, they all rose and wandered slowly towards waterhole 1.  Along the way KE3 and KE4 could not resist playing with AT1 and the playful youngsters frolicked about in the flowers as their elders walked on ahead towards the setting sun. 

 

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5 responses

15 01 2012
Jan Caire

Wonderful to see how KE3 and KE4 are fitting into the pride and AT1 seems able to adapt her play to their age. Beautiful photo shots with the setting sun light and the cubs in the field of flowers.

15 01 2012
bea

You are making me smile again. Love this soap opera and it is amazing and well predicted that AT1 would be as tough as she is. I look forward to a bright future and leading lady in this Pride.

15 01 2012
delia

What’s going to happen to AT1 once she reaches adulthood? Is she going to be released into the wild?

16 01 2012
africanlionenvironmentalresearchtrust

Hi Delia – yes, AT1 and all subsequent cubs raised in the release sites by any release pride will when old enough go into the wild. Follow this link for a full description of the rehabilitation & release program – http://www.lionalert.org/pages/lion-program.html

16 01 2012
Helga

Wonderful pictures and post thank you. Wished I had seen Kenge’s cubs while at AP, but understand they were far too young to bring out. Kenge was wise in choosing her time very carefully. Glad to see AT1 is slowly growing into a proper young lion and accepting the cubs. Can’t wait to hear when she finally is released into the wild, which will mean success to AP and what they are trying to achieve. Keep up the great work.

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