The Dambwa Release Pride were the subject of a new film by the BBC’s Natural History Unit who visited our Livingstone project site during the first week of May. This was the BBC’s third visit to ALERT’s projects. There were cameras on the ground, hidden cameras, and cameras in the research vehicle, both during daylight hours and after dark, to create an immersive experience of life in a lion pride.
The research team had planned a scavenge opportunity for the pride to collect data on group dynamics when food is present. This could give the team more information on the dominance system within the pride. On the day of the scavenge, the BBC took the opportunity to join the research team. With cameras trained on the carcass, we waited for the lions to discover the meal.
Rusha was the first to arrive, with Zulu close behind. The rest of the pride followed, with RS1 last to join. Soon enough, all 12 lions were in a circle on the carcass. A particular dynamic the research team was interested in was how RS2, the eldest son of Zulu, would be around food with Zulu present. The pair have had a difficult relationship over the past year, with Zulu pushing his son to the edge of pride life. Today, however, RS2 held his ground, even when Zulu started to defend the carcass and smack the others away.
A few days later, there was another scavenge opportunity and the BBC accompanied the research team once more. After much waiting, Zulu’s signal started to become stronger, and soon after he burst through the grass. Loma and Rusha arrived, almost fighting for second place, as the rest of the pride were jumping over one another trying to be faster than the other! This time young LE3 was last of the group to arrive. Once again, Zulu was challenged by RS2 in a tug-of-war of over a piece of the carcass. No matter how many times Zulu tried to shake RS2 off, he wouldn’t back down, and he enjoyed a good meal.
RS2 jumping over Leya in his rush to get to the scavenge
Kela after feeding
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.
Support the African Lion Rehabilitation & Release into the Wild Programme
- To make a donation or to fundraise on our behalf click here.
- To meet the pride as a volunteer, intern or facilitated research student click here.