On Friday the 13th the Ngamo release site area was doused in lashings of rain. Sheets upon sheets fell across the site in the afternoon, saturating the hardened soil and awakening the playful instincts of the resident cats.
Despite the brutal force of the rainfall the lionesses and sub-adults appeared to relish the water and the Amboseli area was transformed into an enormous playing field.
Kwali and Phyre began the games with a 250m sprint after one another up and around a termite mound. This was followed by wrestling with AS4 and AS5; AS4 of course not having the muscle but certainly having the tactics sent her brother tumbling in the mud.
Kenge & Kwali rush towards Phyre
AT1 demonstrated her high and long jump skills over Phyre who was still continuing with her sprinting record, whilst Kenge and her daughters took to what the research team think may have been an attempt at rowing. The three took turns at splashing in and pawing at an ever-growing puddle, pushing one another in, whilst also seemingly trying to empty the puddle.
AT1 jumps over the oncoming Phyre (above). Kenge playing in a puddle (below)
As soon as the games had begun the rains subsided and the Ngamo Olympic team took a well-deserved rest as the solo onlooker, Milo, irritably shook the raindrops from his mane.
On the 14th the research team found the pride in the Valley area and AS4 enjoying her forte – catching and cracking open leopard tortoises. This is the third tortoise AS4 has been found with in her relatively short lifetime. Her reptile skills were first discovered at a mere 3 months of age. By 14 months the youngest was tackling larger tortoises and by 25 months it would seem AS4 has now ‘cracked’ the secret to opening these small parcels of meat. Only a few lions ever get to grips with the technique required; alpha female Phyre being a past master.
AS4's tortoise history