Huddling Against Winter
July 21 2014

July is the month of freezing mornings and mild days, and it takes an effect on everyone, even the lions.  The pride’s behavior has started to change due to the drop in temperature.  Recently, on most mornings the research team will come across the pride sleeping closer together.  On the 15th and 16th the lions were found huddled together to the point where the research team struggled to count everyone.  

The Ngamo pride huddle together for warmth

On the afternoon of the 15th, the pride settled down by Route 66 in between the Masai Mara and Amboseli area.  Just before leaving, the pride shuffled around to get closer to one another as the sun was starting to set and the warmer air of the day started to dissipate.  The following morning, the research team found the pride in the exact same place!  This time they only saw a mass of tan fur and an occasional ear twitch.  Like before, the research team could only count a handful of lions present, but to the research team’s benefit, the lions heard something that caused them to break their huddle so they could investigate.  Once their curiosity diminished, they started to form their huddle again, shuffling and repositioning themselves into the smallest of spaces. They were determined to get cozy once again, even if it meant tolerating your kin sitting on your face.

(left to right) AS4, KE, and KE4

(left to right) AS4, KE, and KE4

The same day, the research team came into the release site during the afternoon wondering if they were to be in the same spot.  They were! Only this time they were spread out a bit more; however, the research team noticed something different about their behavior and their coats. Ashanti and Nala were covered in blood, and so was everyone else! They were grooming themselves and each other until the red stains were gone.  Once they were finished bathing each other, they started to move around once again in preparation for the evening.  Even though it is much colder and the lions were refraining to move away from the body warmth, it doesn’t stop them from missing a meal.

Phyre licks Nala after a kill

Phyre licks Nala after a kill

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