The Great Impala Escape
December 4 2013

It has been a hub of activity during the last 48 hours in Ngamo. On the 2nd December the research followed a restless AT1 into the Serengeti West area, pursuing a herd of unsuspecting zebra. Keeping a stealthy distance the flourishing lioness ducked and dived behind mopane and acacia bushes, attempting to creep closer - but to no avail. She returned back to her sleeping pride as the midday heat began to rise, but the hunting was far from over this day.

AT1

AT1

By midday the zebra herd, and some accompanying impala, meandered their way tantalizingly close to the pride. Nala was soon on their scent from the cross breeze and began to flank parallel to the prey using the towering grass of the Kruger area as cover. She melted into the foliage but Kwali quickly caught on to her intentions and also began to take an interest. As Nala encircled the herd Kwali approached directly along the edge of the road, concealing herself within the bordering grass. She peeked over a large termite mound to perhaps gain a higher view of Nala’s position and plan her own movements.

Kwali

Kwali

After taking in the scene Kwali slunk down the mound and once again into the cover of grass, tip-toeing slowly towards the loitering herd. Just as the tension became palatable, Nala burst from her cover chasing the herd directly towards Kwali. The zebra fled between the two lionesses and into the safety of the grass, whilst a separated impala leapt for life in a manner of all directions. Nala closed in on the ewe and managed to clip its hind leg with her claw sending it spinning in the air. Miraculously the impala landed on its feet -  running.  It sprinted away in the greatest impala escape ever witnessed, leaving an astonished looking Nala and disappointed Kwali standing in the dust.

Nala & Kwali

Nala & Kwali

Milo emerged, as always, fashionably late to a hunt, to inspect the scene and was unusually met with a very affectionate greeting from Kwali.  Kwali has been observed greeting Milo quite a few times over the past few days having very rarely done so since release in 2010.

On the 3rd it was evident that the hunts had continued throughout the evening of the 2nd and into the morning as the pride were found with 2 impala kills and 1 zebra!  As most of the lions gorged themselves on a fresh zebra, AT1 was seen straddling a freshly killed impala ram and heading off into the scrub of the Valley area for some dining privacy. In the thicket of the Tree Tops area the unmistakable crunching of bones was heard and led to the discovery of Phyre, Nala and KE3 on another impala ram. As the lions ambled between their buffet of kills AS4 was given a fright by a large python shedding its skin in the grass. The python puffed itself up and hissed viciously at the curious sub adult. Its efforts to appear fierce and deadly worked a treat as all passing lions gave it a respectable distance when passing, but note-to-python, do not position one’s self between 3 lion kills in the future!

Nala & Phyre

Nala & Phyre

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