A boy of many guises
May 14 2015

The morning of the 23rd of April found the pride in an area of a site known as Grand Canyon, where they were finishing off the remains of a scavenge which had been placed in the site the previous day. A number of the lions and cubs were sporting superficial injuries, attesting to the notion that dinner time had likely been a raucous affair. As the morning wore on, so too did the sound of teeth grinding on bone as the pride rotated between leftover or discarded scraps with the aim of devouring every last morsel possible. Just before 9am, however, an unlikely candidate managed against all odds to influence the pride up onto their feet- away from the recent meal and the prospects of a siesta.

As one of the youngest cubs in the pride, LE3 is already noted as quite a master of reinvention and, in his mere 15-month life-span, he has sifted through quite a couple of different guises. Initially, LE3 was the boisterous cub in his litter- at times definitely to his own detriment. Often as a young cub he found himself in a squabble with the considerably older RS litter, which ultimately required his mother, Leya, to extract him from the situation.

Once he was under Leya’s watchful protection, he would somehow manage to wander back to the fervent RS cubs and plough headfirst into another game of rough and tumble- one which he would have no hope of winning. LE3’s spirited nature was unrelenting up until late last year when he unexpectedly developed into a calmer, more calculating male- allowing his brother, LE1, to be at the fore as the social butterfly. Meanwhile, LE3 has been the embodiment of tranquillity, catching up on a couple of months’ worth of sleep.

On the morning of the 23rd of April, however, we might have seen the first signs of LE3’s newest identity. Having spent some time doing the rounds with the last remaining bones of the scavenge, LE3 suddenly ambled through the grass whilst giving a few fairly shrill and impressive calls. Instantly his brother and sister discarded their scraps and followed him as he walked onto the nearby road. The next moment, one of the older lionesses, Kwandi, as well as a few of the cubs, merged with them and began moving. They was swiftly followed by lionesses, Kela and Loma, and within minutes, all of the lions, including alpha male, Zulu, joined LE3’s initiative.

It might not seem exceedingly impressive, but for one young cub to be able to get a pride of lions, overstuffed and practically bursting at the seams, on to their feet is a colossal accomplishment that we were rather proud to have witnessed. The initial signs of a future leader, perhaps?

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