The cubs tuck in

18 01 2012

Friday  13th January certainly was unlucky for some as following yesterday’s uneventful pursuit of impala in Masai Mara, the lions were even more hungry and continuing to hunt without reward.  Phyre, Kwali, AT1, Narnia, Nala and Kenge began the day stalking zebra in Etosha to no avail, and then later, impala that were heading at pace from Kruger towards the lions.   It wasn’t long before we saw the reason the impala were moving so quickly as Milo marched behind them unknowingly driving the impala in the direction of the females.  It could have been a very successful chase if it weren’t for the short grass and sparse shrub cover highlighting the lions’ presence but the impala were soon aware of the danger ahead and changed course.  The lions remained sat down and watched as their potential breakfast passed them by.  By the afternoon the lions’ day had come full circle as, after resting for the most part, they were again watching a herd of both zebra and impala passing through Etosha.  The girls followed the herd into Masai Mara where Narnia took the initiative and began to stalk.  Again, unlucky for Narnia, the zebra ran away followed closely behind by the impala and within seconds they were gone from the advances of one of the pride’s finest hunters.

The pride, perhaps feeling a bit discouraged by the past few days’ near misses, had a day off from hunting and on Saturday (14th January) Nala, Narnia, Ashanti, Phyre, Kwali, AT1, Kenge and her cubs all spent the day lazing in their usual way.  It had now been 8 days since the pride last ate and particularly Ashanti and Kenge both seemed to be irritable.  Ashanti, who is usually more obliging than Kenge to feed cubs that are not her own, snarled at KE3 and KE4 when they approached her to suckle and Kenge, usually a very patient and attentive mother, also snarled and snapped at her youngsters sending them crying and looking for milk.  The two ever-hungry cubs determined not to go without instead made their way towards non-lactating Phyre, but she too growled and rolled over not allowing the two little mouths to latch on to her.  A slightly confused KE3 even approached resident nanny Kwali to suckle, much to Kwali’s bewilderment!

Sunday (15th January) finally brought success! On arrival into the site in the morning we found Milo and AT1 in Amboseli both at a long-awaited zebra kill.  Narnia, Phyre, Kwali, Ashanti, Kenge and their respective cubs were also resting close by, each of them with large contented bellies.  As AT1 munched away at her breakfast dad Milo was doing his usual trick of resting his head on the carcass making sure that no-one approached to eat without his permission.  The whole pride remained at the kill site for the whole day and by the afternoon Milo had finally released his hold on the zebra and the small amount of meat left was now being finished off by Kenge together with hers and Ashanti’s cubs.

Kenge had managed to find herself the jaw bones and as she rasped at the last few scraps so did KE3 and KE4, KE3 even managing to get her little head stuck as she forced her way in for meat.   The four young lions had endless fun chewing and clambering over the bones even entering into battles over the same piece with mini sized growls and slaps!  But Narnia soon put a stop to AS4’s fun as, not being satisfied with her full belly, she crept up behind AS4 and forced her off the bone she was happily making the most of.  What a bully Narnia!

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3 responses

18 01 2012
Greentracker

8 days without food, wow.. crunching on tortoise the other day too? Glad they made a kill though and bit more content now. I can’t help but feel sorry for the little cubs though when they cannot even suckle, but they look healthy enough and enjoying their meal.
I know I keep repeating myself here, but another super post and great photographs. I really do enjoy reading these blogs so much.
I do need to make a donation to this brilliant cause too. (That’s a promise..) Thanks again AP.

18 01 2012
Joyce Kinton

My The cubs are growing sooo quickly !!
Life in the feeding line !! Love the pics…

19 01 2012
Helga

I’d be grumpy after 8 days without food! Glad they eventually got a kill and managed to fill their bellies. The cubs are a delight and growing!! Again, thanks for the great pics and keeping us informed.

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