Caught in the Trees
January 14 2016

On the morning of the 7th of January, the three ‘LE’ sub-adults were found crammed into the shade of a single small bush.  The rest of the pride was nearby, but obscured from view by a curtain of dense grasses.  After a while, the grass parted and Leya emerged.  The two LE boys began trotting towards their mother, to which Leya responded by meeting them with a playful bout.  The boys took full advantage of this play opportunity and jumped on their mother.  A game of chase erupted, but Leya seemingly realised what she had got herself into and soon flashed her teeth to put an end to the games, withdrawing into the long grass again.  

In the blink of an eye LE3 was in a tree!  Getting up there quickly is one thing, getting down again is quite something else.  LE3 considered his situation for some time, until he eventually opted for an ungraceful leap followed by a definite thud as he hit the ground.  Quickly collecting himself he decided to take it out on his nearby sister, LE2, by wrestling with her.    

Then the research team noticed LE1 scoping out the same tree his brother had just struggled with.  After some consideration of the matter, LE1 decided to try it.  After a run-up he soon found himself in the tree, and with the same problem as his brother.  The branches proved to be too twisted, and too high, for the growing sub-adult, and were hard to manoeuvre around while balancing!  LE1's rump was in the air and he started to chew on the branches out of frustration.  He pivoted around carefully, stopping for a moment to gaze at the research vehicle, as if looking for assistance.  After much consideration and hugging of the branches, he slowly slipped down the trunk, making it back down to the safe, solid ground.  As a reward, his mother, who had arrived back on the scene, gave him a big lick.  

Easy on the way up

Not so easy on the way down

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.

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