On the morning of 17th December we found the increasingly handsome AS5 alone in the Etosha area. The research team have found AS5 alone on numerous occasions recently, often left to his own devices as the pride move off to look for prey, leaving behind the sleeping prince. Sister AS4 has been seen with her brother keeping him company whilst exploring the release area but today was dedicated to some male bonding it would seem.
Milo soon joined AS5 and took up a regal pose seated near his son. AS5 examined his father’s every move with great curiosity and apparent admiration and he crawled on his belly closer. AS5 rolled into his fathers fore paws, just as he had once done as a tiny cub, however weighing in at c. 100kgs this little cub could no longer fit under his father’s hairy chin.
AS5 took great caution in greeting Milo. At just over 2 years old he is at a pivotal age where in the wild he would start to be faced with many rebuffs from older pride members as he is slowly exiled from the pride. The arrival of new pride males during a pride take over and/or the birth of new cubs often act as catalysts for the departure of young males from their natal pride.
Fortunately for AS5 Milo is the only reigning male and none of the Ngamo lionesses are expecting having been fitted with contraceptive implants to prevent inbreeding amongst pride members. However behavior towards AS5 is still being monitored carefully and it would seem the young male is certainly the lesser ranking pride member these days, as expected for a sub-adult male.
This morning though Milo showed no intention of giving his boy a hard time and obliged his affections with gentle grunts. The two then proceeded to patrol the pride’s territory together, stopping briefly for a drink where AS5 continued to gaze upon his old man’s mane and dominating presence in awe.
The father-son duo later joined the rest of the pride in the Tree Tops area where Milo as always was showered with greetings meanwhile AS5 was met with many swiping paws and flashes of white teeth. Fortunately sister AS4 had kept a place by her side for him where she did her best to comfort her shy brother and groom his adolescent mane.