After the excitement of finding Leya's cubs for the first time, on the morning of the 13th we discovered that the pride had made a zebra kill mere metres from where we’d seen them the last time. This time however, Kwandi and the RS cubs were also present, however Leya’s cubs couldn’t be seen. We were fairly confident that as first Kela, then Leya and successively more and more pride members moved throughout the course of the morning into a large group of bushes 20m away that Leya’s cubs were still with the pride – just hidden away.
Rusha and her little trio spent the majority of the morning sleeping off their meal with heaving bellies on a small incline just away from the LE cubs’ new supposed den. However a little after 9am Rusha led her cubs into the bushes where everyone else had decamped to, and we heard the excited chatter of RS1, 2 and 3. Whilst we can’t be sure that their younger siblings were in there, the evidence indicated it was certainly likely.
The following morning the group had moved the grand total of about 150m closer to the southern boundary; this time however the LE cubs were just about in view and could be seen suckling from Leya throughout the early morning. It’s a good job the little ones managed to stock up on some energy early on, as their older siblings had a little rough-housing in mind for them later on in the morning.
Around 11am we returned to the group to find the RS cubs enthusiastically inducting the younger LE cubs in the ways of biting, wrestling, pawing and ankle tapping. While the play bout (well, it depends which side you were on as to whether you would class it as play or not) lasted the better part of 40 minutes the LE cubs showed their mother’s feisty spirit and put up a brave fight. Of course from time to time both Leya and Rusha would rise from their resting and separate things out when it got a bit too rough – on one occasion RS3 received a lesson she probably won’t forget in too much of a hurry from Leya… But on the whole it seemed to be Rusha who spent more time trying to call and herd her over-excited youngsters up.
Here you can watch this fascinating interaction. The film starts with Zulu, Loma and one of Leya's cubs, before Loma guides the cub back to its mother. Enter Rusha and her cubs...let the games begin!