Up in the trees

14 04 2011

Its the morning of 10th April, and as the sun rises the familiar shapes of Ashanti, Nala, Narnia, Phyre and Athena appear on a march from Serengeti East area through the Mara and into the Amboseli area.  As they settle down the youngster engages in play with Narnia.

Milo joins the girls during the mid-morning whilst Kwali is discovered on her own in the Tree Tops area; clear the other side of the site.

Kenge is with her two cubs who have discovered the joys of tree climbing.

Back at the main pride unit Athena’s cub is found playing with Ashanti whilst Athena with Phyre and Nala with Narnia all engage in a spot of vigorous face licking.

The scene is very similar through the 11th with lions coming and going from the main pride and Athena’s cub playing variously with different pride members.

One interesting pattern that we are seeing is a correlation between an adult lions’ dominance position within the pride and their engagement in play with Athena’s cub.  63% of observed play has been with the pride’s least dominant members Nala & Narnia.  At the other end of the scale Milo and Phyre seem to be approached for play by the cub significantly less.   Whilst Nala and Narnia are also the high on the list of the pride’s most sociable cats anyway this correlation falls down given that Phyre is the most sociable lion but is not a lion the cub regularly plays with.  Is it possible the cub has already understood the relative dominance positions of its pride?

Phyre, Nala, Narnia, Athena and Ashanti were observed attempting to hunt impala.  One lion circled around and started a chase to push the prey into the waiting ambush by the other four females; but the hunt proved to be unsuccessful.  Nala has been seen limping and may have pulled a muscle in the hunt.





Get in touch with your inner cub

6 03 2011

We arrived upon a very playful pride this morning (5th March). After a brisk walk from Amboseli to the Camp area, led by Ashanti, the cool morning air obviously sparked the inner cubs in our girls.

Ashanti started off the infectious shenanigans by attempting to climb a tree, failing, and sprinting to a nearby termite mound to wait in ambush for her other pride members to pass. Nala became the victim as Ashanti bolted after her setting off a sprinting race while Phyre decided to test her climbing skills also. Phyre eventually grew bored and clambered down giving a turn to Nala who too climbed in amongst the branches, eyes wide with excitement.

Playtime eventually died down and our over-sized cubs settled down to rest. The sound of sprinting and climbing was obviously heard by Athena in her den and enticed her to come investigate. She settled amongst the lionesses to slumber for the next hours. We have observed Athena leaving and returning to her den frequently over recent days. Although her behaviour is difficult to read this could an indication that her cub is developing well and needs feeding less frequently. Females with developing cubs will often only return to their cub once a day to feed them; dusk seemingly being a favoured time for this. As Kenge’s cubs grow we expect that she will also be seen away from the den more often.

After a long communal cat nap the pride made the long march into the Valley area of Ngamo. Whilst Athena went to quench her thirst in a nearby gully the rest padded down the bushes and grass to create a place to continue their napping.

We had yet again no visual of Kenge but managed to locate her with our telemetry to be close to water hole 2 in her cosy den.








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