When the adults are away, the sub-adults come out to play!
June 9 2017

In the past couple of weeks, the research team has been finding the Dambwa RS sub-adults relaxing and playing in an area away from the rest of the pride.  The bonds between siblings are strong, and it is nice to see they continue to seek each other for company and play.  However, sometimes one needs to remember not to push the boundaries!  Early one morning RS2 and RS3 were found by themselves in the Sibaka area of the release site.  It appeared that both were in a playful mood, chasing each other around and when getting too tired, flopping down on top of each other and engaging in playful wrestles.  At one point, RS2 got up and approached a small tuff of grass, sniffing it before jumping into the air and pouncing on the grass.  To begin with the research team thought that RS2 had found a lizard, however, when he proceeded to do a flehman response and then flop down onto the grass and start rolling on it, they determined that an interesting smell was present.  At one stage RS2 sat up right and licked the grass, however, it did not seem to taste as good as it smelled!

While RS2 was busy enjoying himself, his sister RS3 watched at a distance.  Soon, she lost interest, getting up and moving off in the direction of the pride.  Upon seeing RS3 leave, RS2 bounded to his feet to follow her. Still is a playful mood, he approached RS3 to engage in more play behaviour.  However, RS3 had decided that she had had enough!  Subsequently, when RS2 tapped RS3 on the rump with his front paw, she pivoted to give him a big slap on the face.  Undeterred, RS2 persisted in throwing his weight around, trying to get his sister to engage in play, but clearly she was not having any part of it!  As these sub-adults slowly reach adulthood, they are bound to start testing each other’s dominance and place within the pride, and sometimes this is seen to occur during extended and unwanted play behaviour.  It is clear that while RS2 is larger, RS3 is not prepared to roll over and tolerate being bullied by her brother!  

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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