The social life of AT1

17 02 2012

At nearly 13 months old young AT1 is a well-established member of the Ngamo pride, but who does she appear to be closest to?  And what does she make of these youngsters running around the place?

Sometimes AT1 can be found with the adults

And sometimes with the cubs

We took a look at who her nearest neighbour has been when the pride is observed since the beginning of the year.  Dad is obviously a little daunting for AT1 and he ranks lowest of the adults as the lion she is most likely to be closest to.  She is also clearly avoiding the current mothers of the group (Ashanti and Kenge) who at this time are highly protective of their cubs, and occasionally very grouchy, especially when they have sharp teeth clamped to their teats.  Former favourite Narnia has dropped down the list below aunt Kwali.  In second place is Nala with Phyre her most frequent nearest neighbour. AT1 has clearly understood which side her bread is buttered and is sticking close to the alpha female of the pride, although that situation is likely to change when Phyre too becomes a mother (expected) in the near future.  This pattern is also mirrored when looking at which lions AT1 greets most often.  As for which lions greet AT1; its Narnia, a lowly lion in the pecking order of the Ngamo pride, that most frequently greets our young lioness.

And there is clear favouritism between AT1 and the other cubs of the pride as well.  The interactions between AT1 and KE4 and AS4 are few and far between, although both will occasionally entice a play bout.  Young male AS5 comes second, but is least likely of the four cubs to start a play session with AT1, preferring to tackle smaller adversaries.

AT1 and KE3 however seem to have a little love affair going on.  AT1 is found with KE3 as her nearest neighbour more than the combined number of times she is found nearest any other cub.  And the number of social interactions between the pair are double than those with any other.

Occasionally it can all get a bit much, especially when the youngest members of the pride come in numbers.

And so, like any young lady, our precious AT1 finds a quiet spot away from all the others: just to be on her own with her thoughts (probably about what is for dinner)




6 responses

17 02 2012

I absolutely loved this post. It was so humanistic – it makes social interaction among humans so “wildly” clear. Reasons for everything – friends – needs etc. Thanks for the observations and best of luck. Pictures are amazing.

17 02 2012
Joyce Kinton

Isnt AT1 a glorious lioness ? Shes growing so quickly…
It wont be long till the present cubs are following in her footsteps…
Leaving room for even more cubs !!!!!!! xx

17 02 2012

I have to agree with the above comments, I too loved this post and the photographs.
For me, a really good explanation of the social interaction between pride members, I can appreciate why AT1 is a bit reluctant to fraternise with Kenge and Ashanti at this moment in time, but also delighted she has KE3 as a playmate and companion. Thanks again RT, and to Milo too… for helping create it! 🙂

18 02 2012
T berger

I agree love reading these posts…..AT1 is so special, will her cubs be really wild, let’s hope.
Thanks and keep it coming)

19 02 2012

Wonderful post and beautiful pics. AT1 certainly is becoming a character and hoping KE3 becomes her special friend.

11 03 2012

AT1, what a beautiful cub! And what a fantastic lioness she will be. I love her and the Pride. Please continue to keep us informed about our Pride. And the photographs are magnificient!!! Thanks so much.

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