On the afternoon of 16th July the Ngamo pride was located in favoured ‘Amboseli’ area, all except for Milo that is. The females and AS5 had been resting for the majority of the session when around 17:30 hours a solitary roar was heard in the distance. On hearing the roar Nala, KE3 and AS4 calmly rose from their slumber and slowly headed off in the direction the roar was heard. The roar had of course belonged to Milo and approximately 10 minutes later the pride male arrived to join his remaining companions in Amboseli. As he made his approach towards the pride Kwali stood up and excitedly rushed to greet him with a head rub. KE4 followed suit and the two females fussed around their pride male sniffing at him to confirm his identity before reassuming their resting positions as the sunset marked the end of another day.
Early the next morning a thick veil of fog had fallen over Ngamo and the sun could be seen rising like a glowing red disc. Within half an hour the release site was aglow with an orange haze; clouds of condensation hung in the air over Kenge and Nala as they let out a dawn roar and the research team began their data collection for the day.
The sight that greeted the research team early one foggy morning
Dawn chorus: Kenge and Nala make themselves heard
The pride was resting in the ‘Camp’ area of the site but it wasn’t long before they were up on their paws and on a patrol of the release site. The pride has spent quite a bit of time recently moving around their territory, noticeably more than usual, which has resulted in the research team slowly tagging along to see where their procession takes them. Over the past couple of weeks the pride have been visiting areas they frequent less often; they’ve taken lengthy evening walks along ‘Route 66’, patrolled the boundary in ‘Tree Tops’ and ‘The Valley’ and have also taken strolls through the grasslands of ‘Serengeti East’, stopping to drink at the waterhole along the way.
On the move
The research team have recently been exposing the pride, via playback, to the calls of zebra and hyena. Each time the calls have been played the pride’s response has been exactly as the team hoped, to rush off in search of a meal. Could this be the reason the team are now observing more movements from the pride? After all, the call of prey species or a competitor in your territory is enough to get any lion moving. Or is it simply just too cold to sit around?
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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