Over the past couple of weeks, the research team have spent more time searching for lions than they have observing them. It’s all down to the amount of rainfall in the Ngamo release site, resulting in soggy, impassable roads and a spurt of growth in the vegetation. With access to anywhere other than the main roads impossible, finding the pride has proved tricky, unless the team were lucky enough to locate them along the good paths.
On the afternoon of March12th, the team headed out to collect data as usual. Earlier that day the pride had been resting in the ‘Camp’ area of the site, but by the afternoon they had moved on and the search for the lions ensued. Eventually they were spotted in the sprawling grassland area of ‘Serengeti West’, approximately 120 metres in from the perimeter road. The temptation of seeing AS4 and AS5 playfully bounding through the grass was too tempting to resist and so the team decided to take a chance and they headed towards the lions.
AS4 and AS5
Clearly, leaving solid ground and heading into a swamp wasn’t one of the best decisions the team has ever made and, within seconds, the wheels of the research vehicle sank into the ground. Stuck, well and truly! With no way of getting out, the team radio-called for help and then continued to observe the pride from the distance. It wasn’t long until the lions gradually wandered over the hill, with Milo the last one to move out of sight. The time spent normally collecting data was instead spent waiting for the rescue team to arrive to pull the vehicle out of the mud. But it wasn’t all bad; this gave the team and accompanying volunteers a great opportunity to talk about conservation, as well as some of the more special moments observed in Ngamo since the pride’s release. Well, if you can’t see the lions, you might as well talk about them instead!
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.
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.