It was a wet morning on the 17th of February, with fresh dew on the ground, as the research team drove into the Ngamo release site, unaware of the lions’ intentions in the brisk weather. On discovering the lions in the the Valley area the researchers noticed a flicking tail in a tree nearby. It was Phyre, perching comfortably, looking like an old climbing pro as she balanced herself in the twisting branches. After a while, AT1 wanted to join her alpha female and see if she could find a spot for herself. Phyre clearly didn’t want the youngster in “her” tree and pushed the upstart out. AT1 gripped the trunk of the tree while she slowly slipped down and found her true spot on a patch of grass.
AT1 wasn’t the only one interested in climbing the tree. Once Phyre was done resting in her throne it was AS5’s turn to try out the climbing tree. He awkwardly leapt into position and stumbled several times trying to find a comfortable spot. It was only a few minutes of reassessing the convoluted branches after he gave up and joined the rest of the pride on the ground, realizing that the tree may not be for him after all.
Soon the pride set off down the road to find some impala in the Kruger area. Along the way there was a rustle in a bush and AT1 bounded toward it, leaping on to the invisible prey. She was clearly excited and intent on what the research team presumed was a mongoose making its way through the undergrowth. The rest of the lions took notice too, but waited for her to finish her inner cub behavior. AS4 and AS5 too intrigued by this invisible prey any longer joined her in the chase. Back and forth they ran between the shrubs trying to catch this tricky animal. For a few minutes, the research team had some good laughs with the entertainment watching the sub-adults interact with the prey. In the heat of the moment AT1 crouched down and pounced on her half-brother, AS5, taking him by surprise! AS4 also followed suite, jumping on her brother on their way back to the rest of the pride. Whatever the prey was, it was lucky with a near escape.
The pride continued on, and after several stops along the way disappeared into the bush with only the tops of their ears and the occasional muzzle sniffing the air in sight.