As part of important meetings with the Zimbabwean Parks & Wildlife Management Authority we took the visiting directors and wardens to see the Ngamo pride on the 20th. A mean looking storm was beginning to loom and we became concerned that actually finding the lions may be an issue. However, upon arriving at water hole 2 the ZPWMA were treated to a spectacular visual of all females and cubs huddled together in one large lion mass.
By afternoon the cool, windy, drizzly weather continued and AT1 was soon attacking discarded sticks and flimsy branches. The lionesses and younger cubs initially looked on unimpressed by AT1’s infantile behaviour but sure enough her playfulness caught like wild fire amongst the group. For once though it was not the cubs causing a ruckus. Kenge had our research team in stitches as she stalked one of her daughters, KE4, before testing the elasticity of her tail.
Narnia decided she too felt the need to take on a stick or two and proceeded to wrestle AT1 for hers before destroying all those other sticks that dare rest within her vicinity. Phyre gave her tree climbing skills a good testing. Overlooking Narnia and AT1 below she leapt out of the branches rather clumsily and pinned AT1 to the ground. Kwali joined in with AS4 by continuously ankle tapping her and gently nibbling her on the back. Ashanti, after demonstrating the importance of stretching before playing with AS4 and 5, gave AS5 a cheeky nip on the neck and a paw around the chops.
Eventually the whole group moved off towards the Maasai Mara area, bounding over one another in an impromptu race.
By the morning of the 21st we soon discovered that the pride’s energy had been put to further use. All were found feeding upon a zebra kill in Serengeti East but the happy-go-lucky atmosphere amongst the lions had deteriorated to snarls and growls over the dinner table. After the pride members had devoured most of the zebra Milo guarded the remains of the carcass jealously and rushed at any family member that dare come close. Kwali was sent spinning on her back by a lashing front claw. Phyre rolled around seductively on her back but to no avail. Even AT1 who had taken a break from being allowed to feed was rebuffed when she tried to come back for seconds. Only the four littlest members of the pride were permitted to come and go from the table as they pleased, happily chomping away on zebra meat just milimetres from dad's snarling mouth.