A Vanishing Act
April 8 2014

The past few days have seemed to be a routine in the Ngmao release site.  In the morning the research team would find the lions in the Tree Tops area, the only movement being a stretch or a yawn.  They would sleep there the entire day until around 5pm where they all stand up, stretch, and follow Phyre to the Amboseli area to quench their thirst at the waterhole.  On the 4th of April during the afternoon session, it was that usual time the lions were to begin their daily movement to the waterhole.  The research team had volunteers accompanying them this session, and what seemed like a casual stroll down the road, following the lions as usual, changed unexpectedly.  The lions stopped dead in their tracks, sniffing the air and were all vigilant toward a clump of trees in the Etosha area. 

AS5

AS5

The research team turned to the volunteers to inform them that this looked like the beginning of a hunt; however, once they turned back around, only two of the ten lions present were to be seen in the road. The others vanished.  AS4 and AS5 were the only ones in sight, sitting vigilant toward those clumps of trees everyone was so interested in. 

There was a silence in the air, even the birds were silent.  Everyone was holding their breath, including the lions.  After jotting down several notes, the research team looked up and saw two pairs of ears amongst the grass. 

AT1 (above) Nala (below)

AT1

Nala

It looked to be AT1 and Nala sniffing the air and waiting for the others to make their move in the brush. Once the research team noted this appearance down, they saw that AS4 had now vanished.  There was a long period of waiting in anticipation and the volunteers where helping the research team scan the savanna landscape for any movement for flicking ears or tails.  Then all of a sudden the volunteers gasped!  The research team were instantly excited and asked what had happened.  The volunteers quickly said they saw one impala shooting out of the bush like a bullet with two lions right on its heels. Sure enough, the research team saw the lone impala running for its life with a near escape, but the lions quickly lost their stamina and started panting.  It was an exciting event for everyone; however, the pride soon rejoined along the road and continued their trek to the waterhole.   

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