It’s been a bit of a funny old week in Dambwa. On Sunday 29th we lost Temi… all day. Arriving early in the morning we initially could only see Kwandi, Rusha and Zulu around waterpan 3. Kela, Loma and Leya’s signals were close by and likely coming from the tall bank of grass 20m from where the other three rested but Temi’s signal was much further away.
It’s been quite some time since we’ve found the pride in more than one group – but before we could go and find Temi we had an activity budget on Kwandi to complete.
Her main piece of activity for the morning was to go and greet Zulu before re-settling closer to the bank of grass where we suspected some of the other pride members were resting. Near where she settled we managed to pick out Leya, but it was almost a full hour before we could get any idea of where Kela and Loma were, having to wait for them both to move amongst the grass before we could pick out their forms. However once Loma did move, she didn’t stick around for too long before heading in the general direction from which Temi’s signal was emitting from and Zulu wasn’t too far behind her. Soon Rusha also followed suit and we were left with just the K sisters and Leya. At the end of the session we managed to locate the other four’s signals – including the elusive Temi – to a spot a couple of hundred metres away in the Acacia boundary.
After the break, only Kela and Leya now remained at the waterpan with Kwandi having also moved to join Temi’s gang in the treeline… the main highlight of the rest of the day was Rusha returning to join our duo for a drink.
Heading into August and on the 1st the pride was – complete with Temi - in Puku Dambo, crossing the boundary road just as we arrived. Kwandi led a move East towards Kariba – after several stops to investigate various scents - where they eventually settled under one of their favoured trees in the area.
Zulu (above) Temi & Loma (below)
This morning (3rd) they were back once more at Pan 3, but they weren’t staying long… Kela and Kwandi seemed to be distracted by something, clearly interested in something or some noise to their East and sitting, ears pricked and eyes scanning, about 50m or so away from the others. Finally Kela led a move further towards a thicket on the borders of Bwizu before stopping. But there was still something of interest. As the rest of the group re-settled, Rusha, Kwandi and Temi continued their march East. Watching for several minutes Leya finally initiated the next move bringing the stragglers up behind and the two groups re-met at water pan 2. Settling once more, as they all began to nod off, Kwandi’s head swivelled North towards the Acacia boundary. Waterpan 2 is one of the favourites of the puku in the site, as is the boundary tree line on this side of the site.
Everyone, looking for potential puku in Bwizu
However, we never set sight on any animal so can only speculate as to whether these were what had so interested the lions. Rusha soon clocked onto whatever Kwandi had seen/heard and Kwandi led the next move towards the boundary. Kela is often the last lion to move, seemingly not willing to move until every other lion has filed past her and it seems she may be left alone and potentially about to miss out on something. So as everyone else moved off she remained rooted to the spot until Zulu – who had been lagging behind the girls all morning – moved up to her and was about to greet her, changed his mind at the last moment and sort of half mounted her. Again, as with Loma the other week there was no mating, but Kela certainly seemed happy with the attention as she greeted him before walking off to join the move, flicking her tail in the air repeatedly as she went.
Rusha (female who Zulu is looking at) and Zulu
After the brief interlude, the group re-formed on the edge of Bwizu and Sahara. Scanning in every direction, Temi eventually made a U-turn, greeting Rusha and Leya, and the trio made a beeline for Zulu… and the group were then trailing Zulu who led them back West along the boundary road.
What the pride didn’t know is that late yesterday (2nd) we had left them a scavenge in the Western side of the site. Having chased shadows all morning they were now starting to head in the right direction towards a free meal. As we passed the area in which the scavenge had been dropped on the way out, our resident Bateleur eagles were starting to gather overhead. No doubt by now Zulu’s keen eye has already picked them out!