Summer is in full swing in the Ngamo release site and the pride have embraced it enthusiastically, with long hours spent sleeping in the shade. On several occasions, the research team has found the pride at the same location on both morning and afternoon drives and wondered if they had even moved at all. When the pride is not active, the landscape still gives the research team something to enjoy looking at. It did not take long after the recent fire for life to spring into action again. The grass grew back very quickly, followed by flora in all different colours. There are little bundles of white flowering plants everywhere, which seem to change to lilac as they mature, as well as others that are purple as soon as they bloom. Then there are red flowers, which likely started life as berries, and yellow bouquets scattered all over as well. It is a very lovely scene to rest your eyes on; even better when the pride is in the scene too!
One relaxed afternoon, while the pride was resting the acacia shade in Etosha, a flock of guinea fowl caught the lions’ attention, especially AT1 who was very determined to catch one. Sadly, she wasn’t agile enough and the birds all managed to escape to safety over the fence. These birds have been regulars in the release site recently, over twenty of them at times. Another regular sighting is the Kori bustard, who is always seen alone.
Someone else who has been seen alone often lately is Milo. The head count of lions has, on several occasions, been short of the pride male. The research team has encountered Milo resting on his own, only to find the females after driving a good distance away from him. If he is not on his own, he is with his son AS5. Even when the whole pride is encountered together, the boys are usually resting next to each other some twenty metres or more away from the females. The bond between males was touching to observe recently, as AS5 waited for Milo to catch up while the rest of the pride trotted ahead chasing the scent of a scavenge feed. When the ‘big boss’ finally arrived at the scavenge, he managed to displace the females, claiming the whole of one of the carcasses all for himself. AS5 obviously wasn’t hungry and was content to rest while the others fed. It was good for the research team to see the lions finally shake of their summer laziness.
About the Ngamo Lion Release Site
The 6 adults (1 male and 5 females) of the ‘Ngamo Pride’ were captive born and released into the ‘Ngamo Lion Release Site’ in 2010, 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 5 offspring (1 male and 4 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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