Big Brother
February 13 2015

On the morning of the 6th AS4 and AS5 were taking some time out from the rest of the pride and were relaxing with Milo in the Masai Mara area of the site.  As Milo tends to either spend time alone or with the whole group, the team decided to stay with the trio as it seemed like a good opportunity to observe the behaviour between the younger pride members and their father.  As the day began to set in all was calm, that is, until AS4 rose and began to investigate something that had caught her attention.  On seeing AS4 up and about Milo began to watch her and after a moment he began to approach her.  However Milo’s approach did not seem to be relaxed and it soon became clear that he had begun to stalk towards AS4.  AS5 was vigilant to the unfolding proceedings and he too rose, following Milo closely.  As Milo kept his focus on his daughter, AS5 was hot on Milo’s heels and he ankle tapped him as he walked ahead of him.  Ankle tapping is a behaviour that lions will often display when hunting, clipping the ankle of their prey from behind in an aim to trip it up; but it is also a behaviour we see among younger lions as they determine their dominance among their pride mates.  To see AS5 perform such an action towards Milo was exciting but there was much more excitement to come.

By the time Milo neared AS4 she had noticed his advances and had already taken a defensive pose, crouched low to the ground and snarling as he approached her.  Milo quickly picked up his pace but as he did so AS5 also sped up and the young male charged at his father, growling to deter him from attacking AS4.  Milo quickly turned on AS5 and the pair entered into a brief yet exhilarating stand off.  It was of no surprise that AS5 backed down but he did so only slightly, holding his stance but turning his head just a little in a sign of submission. The whole episode was over within moments and as AS4 took rest AS5 positioned himself beside his sister and the pair groomed each other while their father dozed nearby. With such an interesting display of protectiveness towards his sister the team were delighted they had chosen to remain with Milo, AS4 and her perfect big brother, AS5, that morning.

Although AS5 is showing maturity by standing up to Milo on occasion, he is not quite all grown up and continues to engage in play often.  Most of the time AS4 is his playmate of choice and the pair will chase and leap all over each other, much to the annoyance of any nearby pride members. 

Over the last week or so the pride have been spending most of their time relaxing in the shade but on the morning of the 7th it seemed AS5 felt a little less inclined to spend so much time with his paws up.  After a bit of a wander around his snoozing pride mates, AS5 trotted over to Milo and enthusiastically greeted the sleepy male with a head rub.  As Milo rose his head AS5 jumped up and ran away playfully, trying to entice Milo into some locomotory play.  Unfortunately he had chosen the wrong playmate and Milo merely snapped at his son, clearly not in the mood for any fooling around. 

As he was the only one awake, AS5 turned his attentions to the more static objects in Ngamo and he began to wrestle with a nearby tree.  Repeatedly he leapt up at the branches, and after a while the branches gave way under his hefty weight, leaving the destroyed tree looking more like the work of an elephant than a lion.


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