At the beginning of July, the Ngamo release site underwent its seasonal controlled burn to clear up a portion of the area and to increase visibility. At first, the ground was black and uninspiring but, with the morning dew and new growth coming through, it is now beginning to look beautiful. After the fire, the lions appeared curious towards their ‘new’ landscape; sniffing and scratching the ground as if they were investigating it.
AS5 and KE3 in the burnt area
On a cool morning on the 5th of July, the research team entered the release site and met AS5 and KE3 along Route 66 in the Etosha area. Following a brief session of scent marking by AS5 and some head rubbing with his half-sister, the duo headed down the road to Serengeti West. There, they caught up with the rest of the pride on their travels to Masai-Mara. After a while, AT1’s attention was caught by something nearby. To research team’s surprise, the object of her attraction was a female impala. It had been some time since she had been spotted in the site. At1’s interest ratcheted up a level and she began to give chase. Of course, the alpha female of the pride could not be left out of the excitement, so Phyre soon joined the attempt to catch breakfast. Despite their combined efforts, the impala proved that strength doesn’t always lie in numbers, as she made her escape and survived to see another day.
Two weeks later, after a morning session spent loitering near waterhole one, the ‘Survivor’ put in another appearance. As the research team took a last look at the pride and prepared to drive away, the impala appeared from nowhere. It was as if she was teasing the lions, because, as soon as she had won their attention, she ran off again. The pride quickly went into hunting mode and disappeared into the bushes. Nothing appeared to be happening for a while so, again, the team decided to leave the site. And again, the impala appeared; but this time in the distance and with one of the lionesses in pursuit behind her. Lady Luck was on her side again though, as she quickly escaped and disappeared. The pride soon got over the disappointment of an unsuccessful chase and, in the days that followed, continued to spent their time together, moving from one side of the release site to the other to fully utilise their environment.
AS4 and KE3
KE4, AS4, AS5 and Milo
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.