It was a bright sunny morning on 8 month old Pendo and Phezulu’s morning walk on the 14th of January in the Masuwe Estate in Victoria falls; as the sun was already blazing down by 7:00. After walking for about half an hour, the lions spotted a troop of baboons, but the baboons also spotted the lions and started moving away. The cubs watched the baboons for a few moments before starting to make their way towards them to investigate. The alpha male baboon sat in the middle of the path, staring back at the lions to protect the rest of his troop. The baboons imposing form seemed to discourage the cubs and they lost interest in the troop; but a few moments later new quarry arrived on the scene.
Therese, one of the project volunteers on the walk, alerted us to a lone zebra only 45 metres away, coming towards the lions. The stallion got within 25 metres before spotting the cubs, at which point a stand-off commenced between Pendo and the zebra; Phezulu was in a lazy mood and seemed oblivious to the tense situation that was developing. For some five minutes, the hunter and hunted stared each other down. Eventually Pendo decided to break the deadlock and started towards the zebra, which promptly turned tail and ran. Realising his sister was chasing down a possible meal, Phezulu quickly joined the hunt. Phezulu moved to the right; possibly in an attempt to provide a flanking support to Pendo’s more direct approach. The chase lasted for around 70m with Pendu coming quite close before the zebra’s superior speed and stamina put too much distance between itself and the fading cubs. The cubs continued to walk in the direction in which the zebra had fled. The zebra however must have relaxed and come to a halt too early; as moments later the cubs caught sight of it again. They charged once more, but after a 200 metre chase the zebra crossed the river and disappeared behind a small hill. The cubs slowed and continued to stare in the direction of the zebra’s escape for a few minutes, but they had to accept failure – this time.
We stopped by the river for a while to let the cubs rest after their exertion. They took a refreshing drink and played for a while before moving on. We arrived at a large Jackal-berry tree that overlooks the river in an area we call ‘Croc Rock’ and the cubs could not pass up the opportunity to climb it. It was a very lazy walk back as the cubs were very tired from their exciting morning.
To volunteer to be a part of this exciting project and others in Victoria Falls, Zambia, visit African Impact to find out more.