Hunters and Gatherers
March 6 2013

On the afternoon of the 23rd of February all the females, along with AT1 and the cubs, were found resting in the Etosha area of the site, and all looked to have enjoyed a good meal.  A quick drive around the area was unable to locate Milo who was more than likely guarding the remains of the carcass somewhere secluded and so the team returned to the girls.   After a while AT1 stood up and began to move off.  KE4 and Kenge were not too far behind her and as the rest of the girls began to follow, the research team suspected they were about to return for a second sitting and help highlight the whereabouts of the missing kill site. 

Their walk was lengthy and as they reached the Hwange area AT1 and KE4 began to pick up their pace.  The long grass was making it difficult to see what was attracting their attention but within seconds the scent of rotten flesh solved the mystery.  A dead impala, suspected to have died of natural causes, was quickly seized by KE4 and she began to feed as AT1 watched her sibling tuck in.  KE3, AS4 and AS5 excitedly rushed towards KE4 and the four young Ngamo lions squabbled over their find.  This was an excellent opportunity for the developing young lions to learn about scavenging as, in the wild, a high percentage of a lion’s intake will be scavenged meat.  As the seasons change and prey availability decreases they will have to make the most of what is available and so today was an important lesson that fresh game meat alone may not always be on the menu. 

AS5 snaps at Ashanti

AS5 snaps at mother, Ashanti

As the four cubs continued to fight over their meal Ashanti played peacemaker and as angry mouths snapped at each other she gave soft motherly calls, seemingly trying to calm the situation.  After a while of watching the youngsters feed Ashanti began to move closer to join them.  However there was one cub in particular that she was not expecting to be so unhappy about her attempts and, as she began to feed AS5 swiped at mum! Snarling and bearing his teeth he angrily hogged the carcass making it difficult for anyone to share, the young prince proving he really is Milo in the making. 

AS5 - Milo in the making

AS5

Over the past weeks several pride members have been spotted hanging around in the trees.  Even Milo has been sighted perched up on high which is quite unusual for males as being significantly larger than females can make it quite a task to get up there!  As the rains have now quenched the dry earth and the grass has grown significantly, it is quite possible that Milo, along with the females, is using the height of the tree as a perfect vantage point to survey their territory.  This is an encouraging indication of the pride adjusting their hunting techniques as lions in the wild will often take to the trees to gain a clearer view; not to mention to escape the biting insects that this time of year brings. 

Nala

Nala

On the 2nd March the pride spent the first part of their day lazing about in the sunshine.  A downpour in the afternoon once again sparked the lions into action and by the evening Nala, Narnia, Kwali, Kenge, Phyre and AT1 were found hunting zebra in the Masai Mara area.  As the herd moved slowly the girls took their positions, Kwali sneaking stealthily through the long grass only raising her head now and again to keep an eye on their prey.  Kenge, Nala and Narnia all flanked to the left of the herd and Phyre and AT1 took central position creeping slowly forwards.  After a few moments of tense stillness there was a sudden burst of activity and as the girls made their move the dust rose in the distance, the zebra fleeing from their attackers. 

Unsuspecting of Kwali covering the background the zebra ran straight towards her and she picked up the chase as they approached and passed her position.  Unfortunately however the herd had gained too much speed and Kwali was unable to keep up with them as they raced ahead of her. 

Kwali

Kwali

With all the excitement over the girls regrouped with Ashanti and the cubs and they took a well earned rest in the long grass as the four youngsters played amongst themselves.  As the evening darkened Phyre led the pride away, their faint silhouettes fading in the distance as the sun set and the night became theirs once again.  

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