Sunday 13th of September saw Leya, and the young LEs, in Sahara finishing off what remained of a scavenge provided for the pride the previous day. It wasn’t long before Loma joined her sister, niece and nephews. With Loma having arrived from the direction of Pan 2, it seemed likely that the rest of the pride was possibly in that area too, looking for something to wash their meal down with.
Sure enough over the next 30 minutes or so, in dribs and drabs, the pride filtered into the area. As the last arrival Zulu was barely present for 10 seconds before initiating a move of the entire pride back in the direction from which they’d all recently arrived. Giving them a moment or two to get ahead we began to follow. Our plans to follow however were quickly scuppered by an uncooperative vehicle which failed to start… After several more attempts our (sometimes) trusty steed finally rumbled back into life and we made for the nearest exit.
It was given a thorough mechanical going over during the breakfast break and declared fit for purpose and so we headed back in for the next session. Having watched the lions vanish into the distance during our temporary breakdown we were somewhat surprised to find Leya and her cohort back in Sahara now chasing vultures away from the scraps, whilst the rest of the pride were holed up in a thicket in the south east of Sahara. With everyone else sleeping off their meal the main source of interest was Kela’s morning-long war against the flies, which after failing to snap them into submission with her jaws she opted for a fairly intense stare down.
Two days later and it was déjà vu all over again, with the pride in more or less the same spot in Sahara. With the LEs picking over the few last remaining scraps of the weekend’s scavenge, it wasn’t too long before Zulu showed his proactive side once more and got the group moving West. We couldn’t follow the lions’ route directly and so monitored their progress from a couple of hundred metres away from the northern boundary road. With much of the grass in this area unburnt and still of substantial height it didn’t take too long before we lost visual of them.
Repositioning ourselves on one of the area’s bisecting roads we had a good five minute wait until Zulu appeared with his train of lionesses and offspring trailing in his wake. RS2 and LE2 brought up the rear guard. As we’ve noticed so often now these two seem to have a real affinity for one another; whether it’s through being the odd one out in their own respective litters, or just a genuine favouring for one another’s company, the big brother-little sister combo are rarely far from one another’s sides for long.
As the procession continued through the site a number of the sub-adults stopped to drink at waterpan 2. Sub-adults they may be, but they’re certainly not happy without the protection of the pride just yet and on realising they were “abandoned” LE1 and LE2 took off at an impressive pace in search of their elders.
Leaving the LEs and RSs to race through the tall grass, we stuck to the roads and found the pride (with the youngsters now caught up) just as they were reaching pan 3. After a quick drink, the pride began to settle – with RS2 and RS3 quickly repositioning a little further away once Zulu settled himself within the group. A quick rough and tumble play bout between Leya and LE3 and the activity of the morning soon caught up with them all as eyelids grew increasingly heavy. It wasn’t long before the gentle snoring from Kwandi signalled that was all the action we were getting for today.
About the Dambwa Lion Release Site
The 6 adults (1 male and 5 females) of the ‘Dambwa Pride’ were captive born and released into the ‘Dambwa Lion Release Site’ in 2011, having been walked in the rehabilitation phase of the ex situ conservation project, the African Rehabilitation and Release into the Wild Programme. The pride’s 6 offspring (3 male and 3 females) were born in the site and have had no human contact, display natural behaviours, and are intended for release into the wild in the final phase of the Programme.
Support the African Lion Rehabilitation & Release into the Wild Programme
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