On the 26th we found the very playful duo of AS4 and AS5 lolling around the Camp area splashing through recently laid puddles and heavily laden dew drops.
The twosome made their way north moving into the Etosha area when AS4’s attention was suddenly drawn to the open grasslands to the east. Without apparent cause the young lioness ambled her way through the soggy grassland with obvious intent, but the research team were yet to discover why.
Once the vehicle had been repositioned the team saw AS4 jogging towards a slowly approaching march of lionesses. Walking in two columns the 8 lionesses and sub adults made for quite a formidable sight.
When approaching other lions a pride member will display social cues indicating their familiarity with the pride, and even their place within the ranking. These include soft calls, playful, erratic movements, confident strides, submissive head bows, licking their lips and, when they arrive, head rubbing. Whereas an intruder may stalk towards other lions aggressively, tail flickering and ears flattened or more often submit by freezing in their paw steps and moving away quickly out of sight.
In the case of the always-joyful AS4, she skipped her way amongst her peers and straight to her mother Ashanti for a very affectionate greeting. AS5 however hung back, somewhat perturbed by the now static army of females. He slowly began his approach in a submissive manner, which to the lionesses may have induced caution amongst them. Nala, KE3 and even the never sorrowful Kwali bared their teeth to the approaching male. Finally as he crossed the frontline into the group and after a few cautious head rubs the young lion was allowed back into the ranks and was met with reassuring head rubs and licks from sister AS4.
AS4 gives her brother AS5 a lick
The reunited pride decided there and then to enjoy their afternoon rest when suddenly the skies opened above them and continued for a solid 40 minutes. Once the rains had begun to clear they headed into the Valley area where Phyre and AT1 took it upon themselves to check for any other forthcoming rain clouds from a nearby tree.
Phyre & AT1