AT1 joins the hunt

7 08 2011

The Ngamo pride has spent the past few days adjusting to their new look home since the fire burnt half of the site.  When the team entered the site on Saturday (6th August) they witnessed, for the first time, the pride attempting to hunt on the burnt areas.

The added advantage for the team is that they are now able to see the pride hunt a lot clearer and have a better view of what lion is doing what. However this also means that the game can spot the lions a lot easier so therefore the pride need to work much harder to make a kill.

The females made several attempts to chase both impala and zebra but were not able to get within less than 15 metres before they were spotted and the game swiftly moved off.

But then Nala started to flank off to the left and the rest of the girls lay in a line, flat to the ground and about 10 metres apart. The team lost sight of Nala and waited and waited for her to chase but nothing happened. But then just as the team thought she had perhaps given up, the zebra started to run towards the other females with Nala trotting along behind them. As the zebra got closer Ashanti and Kwali began to chase, steering them right towards a very vigilant Athena who soon joined in the hunt. The females chased to within two metres of the zebra but unfortunately the zebra just managed to evade them on this occasion.

The females regrouped whilst AT1 attempted to take on the zebra by herself, stalking and chasing until she decided that perhaps she might need the help of her older pride members. She returned to the group and collapsed on top of Phyre, who usually has little patience with the youngest member of the pride. But this time she turned around and gave AT1 a quick lick on the head and then went back to sleep with AT1 sprawled on top of her.


Snakes, scraps and close scrapes

15 03 2011

We joined up with the pride in the Valley area today (13th March) bellies up and paws limp with satisfaction. As we approached the sleeping lions, dodging the various anatomy of the unlucky zebra discarded all over the immediate area we accounted for all the pride members; including Kenge and Athena – all full to the brim. Whilst our females caught up on their beauty sleep Milo gnawed away upon the last scraps of meat on the zebra head.

We returned later in the afternoon to take a bi-monthly game count. This helps our research team to establish any kills that have been made whilst the team are absent from the site and where the lions have left the kill site before we see them again.   We found one group of zebra mixed with some impala around the Tree Tops area that were looking rather anxious.  We slowly headed down to hopefully find the pride still resting up in the Valley but signal indicated otherwise. It appeared the girls were on the move…towards the zebra…

We headed through the Valley and quickly past Leopard Tree avoiding low hanging branches and raced back to Tree Tops. With no zebra or lionesses to be seen once there our researcher pulled out the telemetry in an attempt to obtain a direction. Fortunately our sharp eyed volunteer spotted 3 pairs of ears pricked up underneath a thicket. Through our binos we observed Kwali and Nala appearing to be very vigilant compared to their normal midday day activity of sleeping. Both were also panting excessively; had we missed a chase?

We left the females in peace and headed off to continue our game count. After numerous impala, some steenbok and some zebra our driver spotted something a little unsuspected upon our count. Slithering along the fence was a HUGE rock python reaching over 3m. A fine specimen of a reptile, but also a formidable threat to our 5 new cubs.

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