The pride was resting at waterpan 3 this morning (30th) with everyone seeming to have eaten overnight. Zulu, Rusha, Kwandi and Leya were all sporting especially rotund stomachs.
Approximately 15 minutes after we arrived, a fair old ruckus could be heard coming from the breeding program. All seven of the Dambwa pride sat up and looked in the direction but Kela lost interest pretty quickly and went back to sleep, shortly followed by Kwandi. Ten minutes passed and whatever issue had caused the other lions to fight started up again. This time, only Loma, Rusha and Zulu bothered looking up, but shortly after one of the breeding program lions began roaring (our best guess is Toka) and with that Zulu and Loma immediately sprang to their feet and began bellowing back; soon the rest of the pride were up and booming on both barrels.
After all that excitement everyone settled back down around the pan and as the morning warmed up all sought out their own piece of shade.
Loma & Leya
Mid-morning we returned to find all the girls still in place but no sign of Zulu. It’s quite rare for us to find the pride apart these days, but it does happen from time to time – but it’s practically unheard of to find Zulu not with at least one of his ladies.
Assuming he was just lying in the grass or bushes out of sight, we tested his signal but it wasn’t registering. Rusha and Loma sensed something before we did by looking to east. Trying the telemetry again, Zulu’s signal was suddenly fairly strong. Despite the heat, he came marching like a man on a mission from waterpan 1’s direction and strolled right in amongst the girls bee-lining for Rusha and greeting her before practically sitting on Kwandi.
Where he’d been or what he’d been up to is anyone’s guess – it seems unlikely he’d gone to waterpan 1 for a drink as the pride had been resting at pan 3 all morning and this is where he’d returned to. As soon as he sat down he indulged in one of his favourite pastimes; vulture watching. Three hooded vultures and a bateleur eagle hovered overhead, so perhaps he’d gone over to see what they were so interested in. Either way, it’s one of those mysteries of Damba that we’ll just never know…