KE3, KE4 and AS4 take a moment out from playtime
On the cool, overcast morning of the 18th the research team found a very energetic AS4, AS5, KE3 and KE4. The weather, combined with a couple of days since they last ate, seemed to produce a fever of activity in the youngsters. The Ngamo release site's trees and long grass provided the perfect playground as they rushed around, climbing, hiding and then ankle-tapping each other. During the warmer evening the pride sought refuge under a shady tree, but as the temperature began to fall again with the setting sun, the cubs saw an opportunity to spread their playful attitude to other pride members. AS4 in particular decided that this was the perfect time to focus her energies on her long-suffering father, Milo. As he crossed a road to greet the adult females of the pride she crept up behind him and gave him a good ankle tap. Milo seemed too focussed on the females ahead of him to take any notice this bit of cheekyness, and so AS4 diverted her attention to her brother who was more than willing to join in the energetic games.
AS4 ankle taps Milo
The following day saw the Ngamo pride on a zebra kill. The females and cubs took the opportunity to eat as much as they could whilst Milo was taking a nap after his first course. As he began to show signs of waking from his slumber the females became vigilant to him in anticipation of an aggressive reclaiming of the carcass. But Milo simply sauntered over, picked out a spot at the table, made himself comfortable and began to feed again. Once the threat of being chased off the kill had passed the females and cubs relaxed and the whole pride calmly enjoyed their well earned meal together. As Milo returned to sleep in the long grass next to the carcass, one by one the rest of the pride retired to a short distance away, leaving just AS4 happily chomping away on the remains.
Milo & AS4
The 20th saw a visit by the vets to the Ngamo release site. Some blood samples were being taken to test for various diseases, and to remove some collars that are no longer functioning. The blood work will help us to ensure that the pride remains healthy, and that no diseases are being passed to the cubs that will be released into the wild when old enough. When the team found the pride in the morning they were on the move in the Tree Tops area. Narnia was first to be darted and as she lay down to sleep the rest of the pride moved off. The vets worked quickly before loading her on to a vehicle to move her to the management pen where she received the reversal drug. Milo and Kwali were also darted today, and again removed to the management area to recover. All three lions were soon awake and were let back to join their pride.
Kwali is sedated for blood tests