Funny Faces and Lion Puddles
March 16 2017

The Dambwa pride has continued to favour the Sibaka and Sanga boundary areas of the release site.  One morning recently, the pride was found slowly walking out of a thicket towards a grassland area where the research vehicle was parked up.

While the pride lumbered their way in front of the research team, Zulu paused.  Staring directly at the research team, he crouched to defecate, yawning half way through this task, much to the amusement of the team.  Once finished, Zulu gave a disgusted look before moving off to join the rest of the pride.

An interesting face…Zulu pictured to be defecating and yawning

Having located the resting spot of the pride, the research team observed that every pride member had selected a position that resulted in the pride forming a large ‘lion puddle’.  Amongst all of the legs and bodies, the research team was able to identify who each pride member had selected to rest next to.  This is called a pride dynamic, and is an important component of the research collected on this pride.  The research team utilises this information in determining the social preferences of each individual lion.  Sub-adult male LE1 had selected a position with LE3 and RS2, indicating that the bonds between these sub-adult males remains strong.

The pride resting on top of each other, resulting in a ‘lion puddle’

While resting in a large pile can provide some comfortable head rests, it can also result in paws being placed in unwanted places.  LE1 discovered this when LE3 moved his front left paw to rest on LE1’s face!  Appearing to be used to this interruption, LE1 shifted his head slightly before going straight back to sleep.  The pride certainly makes lying on the ground and each other look very comfortable!

LE1 with LE3’s paw in face: The difficulties of sleeping on top of each other!

LE1 and lion puddle: Although, resting together does provide some comfortable head rests!

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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