On the 19th the research team found the Ngamo pride with some suspicious pink stains on their cheeks and shadowing swarms of flies masking their muzzles. In between the larger zebra and wildebeest kills it would appear the Ngamo pride have been supplementing themselves quite nicely on the abundant impala herds in the release area.
Given an adult impala only weighs c. 41-48kgs such a meal is quickly devoured and forgotten amongst the 12 lions before our researchers can accurately record the successful kill, therefore clues such as dried blood stains, irritating flies and rounded bellies are much appreciated.
Whilst dossing and dozing in the Etosha area Ashanti caught sight of a small impala herd in the distance. She rolled herself into a prone position, pushing her protruding outline into the dark, cindered ground. Nala caught sight too of the herd but perhaps still satisfied from the other recent feed decided to reach out to Phyre for some TLC. Phyre obliged her pride mate’s greeting with a thorough licking of her ears and cheek, and Nala appeared to melt away with delight from the lavish attention.
Left: Phyre gives Nala a good licking. Right: AT1 covered in flies
The research team has been watching Nala closely following the removal of her sister Narnia whilst she recovers from an injury sustained possibly whilst hunting. Nala and Narnia are a very closely bonded duo however Nala has shown no detriment in her behavior or association with her other pride members in her sister’s absence. It is important the effects of such changes in the pride dynamic are monitored closely through social interactions and pride groupings to ensure all the lions are continuing to thrive as a social unit. We are confident Nala is coping well with her sister’s removal and are pleased so far with Narnia’s recovery whilst continuing to monitor her closely.
Nala was also treated to some one on one time with AT1 the following morning in Camp, again whilst the other lionesses tracked the movements of some impala in the distance.
Meanwhile in the tree line towards water road, AS5 decided to try and grab his own view of the impala spectacle in the Masai Mara area. The growing male launched himself up a narrow tree trunk for a quick peek before flopping back onto all fours and dispelling his apparent energy and playfulness on nearby sister AS4.