Sibling Love
April 19 2017

At the beginning of this month the pride was found resting under one of their favourite trees. Resting peacefully, the research team was faced with the difficult task of identifying all lions while they lay flat and on top of each other.  This is a challenge the research team faces almost daily!  All of a sudden, the entire pride sat straight up and all looked in the direction of an impala in the distance… that is, everyone looked in the right direction, except Zulu!  After realising his mistake, he repositioned himself.  The impala quickly realised that it was within the vicinity of a lion pride and made its escape into a thicket.  The pride one by one slowly lost interest and resumed their resting position.  Chasing an impala that is far away and during the middle of the day was not worth the expenditure of energy!

As the pride woke up to the presence of an impala in the distance, Zulu got its location slightly wrong

On the 15th of the month, the pride was provided with a scavenge close to one of the waterholes within the site.  The research team found the pride lounging with full bellies after their big meal.  As a result of an earlier storm, temperatures had dropped, providing an ideal climate for a little play behaviour.  Despite full bellies, LE1 got up and approached his sister, LE2.  After a good wack of his paw to LE2’s face, he had her attention and the game was on!  The sub-adults spent five minutes chasing and pouncing on each other, before flopping down next to one another, exhausted.  The peace did not last long and LE2 quickly rolled over to face LE1 and they proceeded to paw each other in the face.  This demonstrates the close bond between siblings, and their carefree and playful nature.

LE1 and LE2 playing with each other

However, even lion siblings have fights!  The day after the scavenge, the pride was found resting peacefully until RS2 decided to get up and try and get LE1 to join in some play behaviour.  LE1 was not in the mood and responded accordingly, making his older half-brother quickly back down and retreat!  All of this commotion woke Zulu up, who quickly approached and stepped between the two sub-adults.  Zulu then provided some comfort to a sulky RS2 before flopping down and going back to sleep.    

LE1 saying no to play initiated by RS2

Zulu consoling a sulky RS2

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.

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