At three years old AT1 is an independent and well-seasoned hunter. More often she is observed initiating and leading hunts. and our research team has been fortunate enough to witness some of her spectacular kills.
The young lioness is an integral part of the Ngamo pride socializing and moving with all pride members. Her playfulness is infectious amongst all however her dominance and aggression are not to be over looked.
AT1 at 6 months (left) and at 3 years (right)
Following the removal of her mother from the release site in 2012, concerns grew as to how the then 9-month-old cub would fare. Alpha female Phyre was observed somewhat adopting AT1, forming a strong relationship with her and allowing the youngster to integrate into the pride further with ease.
As the only cub in Ngamo at the time AT1 had no siblings or similar aged peers to play with. Nala and Narnia however stepped in to provide ample play opportunities showing great patience and gentleness with the little cub.
AT1 & Narnia
By 2013 the pride had welcomed KE3, KE4, AS4 and AS5 to the pride from mothers Kenge and Ashanti. AT1 revelled in the never-ending play bouts with her younger siblings, however her interests and energy were becoming more directed towards sourcing and taking down prey.
Moving into 2014 and the future is looking brighter than ever for the lioness. Plans are underway to release AT1 and her four sub-adult siblings later this year into a larger managed ecosystem, where they will have to go it alone without the support of their parents.
Similar to any wild born cub AT1 has faced many challenges during her lifetime and her survival and successes as a hunter are due to the care and guidance provided by the founding captive-origin pride members of Ngamo. AT1, also affectionately known as Alpha, is the first lion that is destined for a release into the wild from the Program. We believe, as an individual, this lioness represents hope for Africa's lions, and is the perfect demonstration of how perseverance and a holistic approach can help overcome challenges facing the African lion today.