A tough job, but someone has to do it
October 9 2017

On September 29th, the Dambwa research team began their afternoon session by checking the scavenge dropped for the pride the previous day.  As they approached Water Pan Three, the only remnants of food were scattered sparsely through the grass.  The team moved on to check the size of the lion’s bellies and found them resting a few hundred metres away near the Kariba boundary.  They positioned the vehicle where they could see the majority of the pride members, while maintaining a suitable distance.  Unfortunately, this happened to be downwind from the pride.  Every few minutes, the waft of the lions’ recent meal, excreted as gas, would fly into the face of the team.  The foul smell did not deter them from the job in hand though!

As the pride hid under the shade of one of their favourite trees, Loma and a few of the other lions started to pant.  Without hesitation, Loma rose to her feet and started a movement towards Water Pan Three.  The whole pride followed with Kela lagging behind, as usual.  On arrival at the water pan, they all put their heads down gulping at the cool water.  Suitably refreshed, one by one, they retreated from the water pan to a shady spot under the surrounding trees.  Rusha, Kela and RS1 meandered around the remnants of the scavenge, trying their luck at claiming any leftovers for themselves.  Kela found herself a small piece of meat and started feeding.  That was until Rusha came along snarling and Kela was quick to move out of her way.

Loma starts the move to Water Pan Three

Rusha and Leya follow

Rusha, Kela and RS1 scavenging leftovers

Kwandi Zulu and RS2 on the scavenge

Rusha after seeing off Kela

Realising there was insufficient food left to gorge themselves any further, the pride moved back towards the boundary to rest in their original position.  As most of the lions left the area, LE1 and LE3 decided it was now their turn to search for any remnants.  After 10 minutes of foraging, the boys moved off to follow the rest of the pride.  The research team arrived back with the full-bellied lions resting together in a puddle.  As the sun started to go down for the day, the team decided to leave the pride to digest their meals in peace, letting off as much gas as desired with no one downwind to smell it!

LE1 tries his luck

RS1 resting under the setting sun

About the Dambwa Lion Release Site

The 6 adults (1 male and 5 females) of the ‘Dambwa Pride’ were captive born and released into the ‘Dambwa Lion Release Site’ in 2011, having been walked in the rehabilitation phase of the ex situ conservation project, the African Rehabilitation and Release into the Wild Programme.  The pride’s 6 offspring (3 male and 3 females) were born in the site and have had no human contact, display natural behaviours, and are intended for release into the wild in the final phase of the Programme.

Support the African Lion Rehabilitation & Release into the Wild Programme

  • To make a donation or to fundraise on our behalf click here.
  • To meet the pride as a volunteer, intern or facilitated research student click here.

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