Rain Stops Play Or Not
November 19 2014

Milo and AT1

Milo & AT1

The first of the storms have arrived in Ngamo over the past week or so and they have been causing some minor disruption to the research team.  The lions however have been completely unfazed by the rain and have even been taking the opportunity to partake in a little play among themselves. 

On the 7th November the team located the females and AS5 at waterhole 1 whilst Milo was seeing the morning in down in The Valley, closely guarding the remains of the previous day’s meal.  The team hadn’t been with the girls and AS5 for very long before an impala alarm call was heard nearby and Kwali, AT1 and KE4 were instantly alert.  However it was AS5 whose response was the most interesting as he promptly left the girls and trotted towards the sound of the call.  Unfortunately the impala had moved out of sight before AS5’s hunt got fully underway but his quick response and the pursuit of his prey, without even glancing back for support of his pride mates, is a promising indicator of the young male’s willingness to hunt. 

By the afternoon it was clearly time for a second sitting and AS5 began to make his way back towards Milo in The Valley, with the females following closely behind him.  As the pride travelled along Route 66 Phyre couldn’t resist the opportunity to engage in a spot of play and she chased guineafowl as they scurried across the road.

With little left at the carcass on their return tempers were fraught and it was each lion for themselves in the scrum to gain some scraps.  AS5, Phyre and Kenge had bravely, and dominantly, taken place beside Milo and the four remained feeding, the low rumble of their growls a constant soundtrack to the feeding fray.  

Milo, AS5, Phyre & Kenge

Milo, AS5, Phyre & Kenge

The rest of the pride tried their best to gain access among the four.  Ashanti however managed to get herself a place beside AS5 and she began to tuck in.  It wasn’t long before Kwali tried her luck and she began to edge her way in beside Ashanti.  Ashanti instantly launched into an attack on Kwali and as the lower ranking lioness rolled to the floor in submission Ashanti continued, hooking her paw into Kwali’s jaw and dragging her, preventing her from fleeing.  It was all over in seconds and Kwali, unharmed, ran away from the scene as quickly as she could, taking rest among the long grass.

Nala & Kenge

Nala & Kenge

Aside from occasional bouts of social grooming the following few days provided little activity from the pride as they spent time digesting their recent meal and resting in the hot sunshine.   The temperatures were increasing by the day, no doubt building up before a storm, and by the afternoon of the 14th the heavens opened and the rain and hail came down with force.  The pride had been resting at waterhole 2 for the earlier part of the day so the research team headed back towards the waterhole in the afternoon.  As the rain often prompts the lions into action the team were somewhat doubtful that they would find them in the same spot and they were correct.  The team, with the aid of volunteers, searched the site for the duration of the session keeping their eyes peeled for any evidence of movement from the cats.   Eventually a trail of tracks on the wet road was spotted and the team began to follow in anticipation.  As the tracks led on they became less perfectly defined and were all over the place indicating that their movements had become more energetic.  Simply put, they had been having a good old play! Unfortunately this was the only finding of the session and the research team left the site satisfied that, even though they didn’t find the lions, they at least had an idea of what they’d been doing. 

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