A heated encounter
October 8 2012

The 4th October was another scorcher in Dambwa. Despite the heat and relative lack of any major activity there was enough going on to make the morning fly by.

Zulu at Pan 2

Firstly we located Zulu at Pan 2, taking on enough water to spring a leak. With his head in the pan and bum in the air he was oblivious to the three female puku hiding in the bushes some 30m behind him. The puku are frequent visitors to this particular waterpan so were probably on their way for a morning drink themselves before finding cover from the heat of the day… and were no doubt astonished to be greeted this morning by the sight of Zulu’s derriere rising out of the water. Having drunk the pan almost dry, he settled down (the puku had wisely tip-toed off at this point) and we caught a movement in the tall grass nearby to him; which turned out to be Rusha.

Loma

The five other females were found a short distance away on the edges of the Acacia boundary huffing and puffing away their latest meal – and keeping a keen eye on two brazen hooded vultures who were determined to try their luck. Approximately half an hour later and Rusha appeared along the road making her way to join her sisters; the limp still evident but slightly improved she settled close by as almost simultaneously Leya led Kela and Temi in direction of Pan 2.

Leya and Zulu circle one another

After waiting for the train of lions to amble sufficiently up the road for us to follow, we missed the start of the next interaction, but what we did see was certainly intriguing. Leya’s a fairly no nonsense lion; she doesn’t do flirty, coy or playful. But something had come over her between leaving the boundary and arriving at Pan 2. As we drove up, we could see Zulu was now up on his feet and the pair was circling one another; he trying to sniff her and she pawing playfully at his back legs – before jumping on his back. A sign of things to come? Perhaps. We’ll have to wait and see…

In an uncharacteristic moment Leya comes over all playful

After the three females had drunk, Leya once more led them back to the boundary this time with Zulu tagging along. Leya’s uncharacteristic social side continued and on returning greeted her sister; and was rewarded with a firm snarl from an uncomfortably hot and full Loma. Zulu plonked himself unceremoniously next to Rusha and was met with a firm snarl as she repositioned herself away from the dead weight which had just collapsed on her injured leg.

Zulu

Temi (Rusha to the right, Leya to her left)

By Saturday (6th) the pride had now relocated to Kariba to celebrate Temi’s 4th birthday - by hiding in the tall grass for almost the entire morning. As the birthday girl rested away her big day we were once more treated to some curiosity-piquing behaviour when Zulu made his way past Rusha. She’s been fairly wary of him since sustaining her injury, but even if she was on guard Zulu was pulling all his best moves to win her affections back. Unfortunately for him, after a quick greeting she bowed past him and went and sat with Temi, Kwandi and Kela in the tall grass.

Rusha and Zulu

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