Bad Luck, Kenge
September 7 2017

On the morning of the 16th of August, the research team met up with the pride as they were just settling off on Cross Route North.  It was a mild morning and the warmth of the rising sun was welcomed following the long spell of cold mornings.  The pride took their positions and, after a few moments of surveying their surroundings, they began to rest.  The afternoon however was quite different.  When the research team entered the site for their late afternoon session, they discovered that the pride had moved on from Cross Route and the team was pretty sure where they might locate them.  A scavenge opportunity had been provided earlier that day and it was highly likely the pride had picked up the scent of the carcass in the team’s absence.   As the team made their way towards the location of the scavenge in ‘Serengeti East’, they encountered Milo walking along the road from Waterhole Two, headed in the right direction.  The rest of the females were ahead of him and so the team gave Milo some space and proceeded towards the others.  Although the team had missed the start of the pride’s movement, they were not surprised to see Kwali leading the procession, given her exemplary scent following skills.  In a flash, the females rushed into the thicket and, once AS5 had caught on to the females’ behaviour, he too began to run.  Milo however continued to follow behind until eventually the road opened up ahead of him and there was none of his pride members to be seen.  He paused intermittently until he heard the sound of the pride feeding and then, without hesitation, he too ran towards the frenzy. 

When the team reached the pride, everyone was feeding; Nala, Ashanti, AS4 and AS5 had all seized meat and were feeding alone, Phyre and KE4 were feeding together fairly peacefully, but unfortunately for Kenge who was tucking into the bulk of the carcass, she was joined by Milo and, after 20 minutes or so of tugging and pulling, Milo succeeded in gaining the lion’s share and Kenge was left empty-mouthed until she managed to source a smaller piece of meat nearby.  Of course the carcass was still a little too big for Milo to take it very far and so he simply dragged it deeper into the thicket behind him, pausing every now and again to regain his energy.  Once the carcass was nicely concealed, Milo relaxed and his heavy breathing could be heard from within the vegetation.  He may now be in his twilight years but, judging by this episode, the pride male still holds his position firmly when it comes to feeding. 

Tug-of-war time between Milo and Kenge

The next morning the lions were still in the same area, all scattered about in the long grass.  While some chewed on scraps that remained from the previous day, others lay resting, making observations a little tricky.  The team made the best of what they could observe and concluded their data collection for that morning.  Or at least they thought they had.  Passing by Waterhole Two, they came across Ashanti and AT1, both sporting full bellies and who had obviously sloped off unseen to drink.  It was just as the team were recording their positional data that AT1 spotted an impala and she took to her paws and began to stalk.  The impala was standing in the centre of the newly burnt area with clear visibility of AT1 approaching and she remarkably stood her ground until AT1 was at charging distance; and then the impala was off!  Even on a full stomach AT1 couldn’t resist the opportunity to hunt!  Unsuccessful this time, AT1 returned to rest with aunt Ashanti.  The team concluded their data collection for the second time that morning and headed for breakfast themselves. 

AT1 spots an impala

About the Ngamo Lion Release Site

The 6 adults (1 male and 5 females) of the ‘Ngamo Pride’ were captive born and released into the ‘Ngamo Lion Release Site’ in 2010, 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 5 offspring (1 male and 4 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.

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