Survival strategies

18 05 2011

We found our lionesses loitering around water hole 3 on the morning of the 16th May. With three water holes in Ngamo our lions are never left thirsty although lions will often go for days without needing to drink as they retain large amounts from what they eat.

What is interesting is perhaps that our lionesses are beginning to work out game can often be found at water holes. For most of our pride this is their first experience in a semi-wild environment during the dry season and thus a substantial survival challenge.

Research conducted upon wild lions in the Serengeti has shown that the vast majority of prides will base their territories around the confluences of rivers where water is nearly always available and therefore constantly attracts prey species to drink.  Are the Ngamo lot also beginning to use the water holes as a means of tracking down game?

While the females tiptoed around the water hole, AT1 took it upon herself to try and obtain an aerial view for any game.

On the 17th May our research team panicked as we witnessed what we thought from a distance was a battle between Phyre, Kwali, Nala and Narnia and an extremely large cobra! We raced closer only to discover a very large rock monitor lizard sizing himself up to the lionesses.  Whilst most soon lost interest, Nala was determined to show the reptile who was boss. She hissed, the lizard hissed, she paced, the lizard paced, she roared…and the lizard fled! Well done Nala!

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Is that a snake? *#&%! YES!

1 03 2011

 

We caught up with the girls in the Masai Mara area today, basking in the sun and reaffirming social bonds with some intense grooming sessions.

Kenge appears to have moved her den some 40m to another well hidden thicket, while Milo spent most of the day loitering around the Camp area alone.   We are a bit concerned about Athena.  Over the last couple of days she has been around, including spending some time with Kenge; even staying with Kenge’s cubs when their mother went off to stretch her legs for a bit.  That in itself is normal, however our research team has noted that she seems restless, often moving off before returning to the pride.  Of course this restlesness could be due to the fact that she is interested in Kenge’s litter as well as this private female is having to put up with the comings and goings of the whole pride near her den site since the more amenable Kenge moved her den to a site very close to Athena.

Its a big learning experience for our new mothers as well as for our research team observing the first cubs born in a wild environment within the program.  And, as we have said many times before, survival rates of first litters is low.  All we can do it wait and see.

Its not just the lions that are having to deal with everything that comes with living in a natural environment.  Our research team was on their way to track the lions in the afternoon, and had a bit of a shock to say the least when the driver spotted a 3m cobra slithering away by the tyre and potentially slithering up into the vehicle – don’t forget, no speedy exit is possible due to the presence of lions all around!

Never a dull moment in Ngamo!








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