It had been 10 days since we last observed the Ngamo pride upon a kill. Having tucked away some 7 zebra in just over 2 weeks perhaps the lionesses were beginning to count the calories.
Lions are opportunistic killers. Even when full from a previous kill, or whilst already feeding, if an opportunity presents itself to kill lions will grab it with both paws.
On the 25th our research team ventured into the release site with an on site cameraman for a series currently being filmed for Animal Planet. The team were in hopes of catching a hunt and possible kill on camera as dusk hours are often the most active for the pride. In the morning the team were lucky enough to catch the lionesses giving the resident zebra herds a good chase in the Maasai Mara area of the site. Fingers were then crossed for more chases that evening.
As the sun began to set the pride slowly ambled down past water hole 2. The cubs played hide-and-go-seek amongst the rocks and bushes whilst the adults preened one another readying themselves for a big night out.
The females, once dolled up, began to make their way through the grass of Serengeti East hoping to catch that scent of a zebra. Suddenly, Narnia pricked up her ears. Kwali and Phyre also became vigilant alerting Milo to the same direction. All the lions in site began to trot into the grass for what appeared to be no apparent reason.
The research vehicle slowly followed at a distance not to interfere with any hunting. Most of the females were found sniffing an area of short grass and the distinct growling of cubs was heard close by. Initially our researcher thought they might have found some old remains. Although opportunistic hunters, lions will certainly not turn their noses up at scavenging. The research vehicle circled towards the little growls and grunts and revealed a fantastic surprise. A duiker kill!
Kenge and all four small cubs pushed and shoved one another over the small kill leaving our researcher flabbergasted. How did they not hear the kill?! Not even the rustle of a bush was heard suggesting the small antelope had perhaps been caught completely off guard or whilst trying to hide from the approaching Kenge.
The average weight of a common duiker is a mere 20kg, substantially smaller than the normal +300kgs of a zebra, and Kenge appeared to be in no mood to share. Growling and spluttering Kenge launched at any pride members who attempted to even sniff her prized kill and eventually took off into the long grass with the carcass.
All the cubs slowly followed Kenge and after a few boxing bouts with her spunky daughter KE4 all cubs managed to feed alongside her.
Throughout this Milo was the perfect gentleman and stood aside rather than bullying his way in upon the kill. With this kill being particularly small however, wasting the energy over fighting for it would be a waste. This meant Kenge and cubs were left in peace and quiet under a magnificent starry African sky to enjoy the Ngamo mother’s well-earned duiker dinner.