As Milo approaches his 14th birthday on the 7th of December, he is showing little sign of slowing down! As the rains finally reach Ngamo, breaking soaring temperatures, the pride once again revealed their very playful side after months of sitting out in the baking sun and humidity. The rains came as a welcome relief to all. On the 2nd of December, the research team were delighted to see Milo enjoying a quick bout of play with KE4, as she bounced up to him and playfully dive-bombed him. Of all his children, Milo has always been most overtly affectionate towards his eldest daughter AT1, allowing rough and tumble play with her that he would not usually tolerate with the others. So it was a welcome surprise to see a rare sighting of affection between KE4 and Milo.
The Birthday Boy
Father and son, Milo and AS5
Where’s there’s rain, there’s new life, and the research team have been delighted to see some very young impalas in the site, which were rather wisely staying in those areas of the site the pride do not frequent too often. Over the coming weeks, we will see how they fare against the pride.
The team have also witnessed stronger friendships blossoming between Ashanti’s daughter, AS4, and her female family members. AS4 has always favoured her brother, AS5, for company. However, as AS5 continues to get closer - quite literally - to his father, AS4 has turned her attention to the sisterhood! Nicknamed ‘the Princess’ by the research team for not only her stunning looks, but also her naughty behaviour (she’s not adverse to a spot of bullying!), it seems November brought a new calmness and maturity to AS4. Over recent weeks the team has seen her spending more time with her sisters, KE3, KE4 and AT1, her aunty Phyre and of course her mum, Ashanti. This bodes well for the release of the four sisters, as they will need to rely on these strong bonds to forge a new life away from the pride.
AS4 with mum Ashanti
As for AS5, well he may have wished he stayed best friends with his sister. The team couldn’t help but laugh as Milo sprayed AS5 in the face as they ambled to the waterhole together. Perhaps it was an accident, but perhaps it was to remind AS5 that his father might be approaching his 14th birthday but he is still very much the boss around here!
AS5 gets more than he bargained for
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
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