Fight club
March 14 2013

The afternoon of the 11th got underway to quite a dramatic start. Our first sighting of the pride was as they were following vultures through the site towards a scavenge that had been left for them the previous day. Before they’d even reached the carcass there was fireworks. As each lion tried to pinpoint the direction of the scent they criss-crossed the Bwizu area. Perfectly innocently (for once) Rusha diverged from her original route back past Zulu.

For reasons known only to Zulu, he took exception to this and flew in a rage at her. Rusha instantly submitted but that wasn’t good enough and each time she tried to move or back away he would lunge at her once more. Luckily for Rusha, the other girls had discovered the carcass close to pan 2 and the noises distracted Zulu so that he soon forgot all about Rusha. The rest of the afternoon was relatively peaceful as the seven crammed around the meal and filled their bellies.

A good meal settles things

Grumpy Zulu was back the next morning however. The pride was still at pan 2 close to the scavenge site; the girls dotted around in rather peeved off looking groups while a near-constant grumbling could be heard from a clump of grass next to the pan. While Zulu finished off whatever was left the girls could only sit and wait- and wait and wait and wait. Several attempts were made by various lions over the morning – starting with Temi and Kwandi – to creep up and see what was available; but each time they’d be met by Zulu chasing them off.

Rusha waits for her chance

Rusha wins Zulu over with a greeting and a bite to the head

Having chased Temi and Leya away for the umpteenth time, as he returned to his scraps he stopped to allow Rusha to greet him – and with that, permitted her entry to his grassy den. Despite the previous day’s fighting he sat by while allowing Rusha to feed on the remains. But Rusha didn’t get to eat for long as a commotion in the grass soon literally knocked her off her feet. Out of the tall reeds around the pan suddenly flew a growling Leya and Loma; Leya lunging wildly somehow managed to grab herself a rather well-chewed looking leg on the way through while Loma crashed into Rusha and the pair went flying together.

The most likely source of this latest discord? Kwandi; who soon emerged in Zulu’s now vacated spot growling and huffing. Not usually one for overt aggression it was a fired up Kwandi we observed for the rest of the morning making Zulu’s earlier display look a bit pathetic by comparison; at one point as Zulu tried to return Kwandi gave him a taste of his own medicine and literally had him on the ropes and she smacked and lunged until he backed away.

With so many tempers flaring over the course of the morning we found the pride in two sub-groups later on; only 100m apart Zulu was now resting with Temi, Leya and Kwandi in the Acacia boundary while Loma, Kela and Rusha fed on what little remains were left. As midday neared, Kela made her way into the boundary and could be heard calling to which the second Temi/Kwandi group could be heard replying. Soon, we could make out the figures of 7 lions re-grouping high up in the tree line and heading East.

The afternoon of the 13th and the pride had now relocated to the Kariba section of the site. There’s been the definite first hints of winter early in the mornings over the last few days, but the afternoon was hot and the lions’ mood reflected that. Despite the odd eye flicking open to monitor a vulture flying over or assessing some other noise, the first half of the afternoon was a restful one.

Kela & Loma

The only incident of note was another minor squabble. Kela, looking for a new place to sit, bypassed Rusha and headed straight for sister, Kwandi, whom she greeted at length. Whilst doing so, bum raised in the air she presented an irresistible target for Rusha who latched her claws into Kela’s rump and took a playful bite. Playful or not, Kela wasn’t amused and growled a warning before swinging round teeth bared and paws swiping.

Kela

Having been the source of so much unrest this week, Zulu then decided to take up the role of peacekeeper; and came and inserted himself between Kela and Rusha. Kela, still unimpressed sat with her back to them but Rusha and Kwandi made great displays of greeting him. A quick sniff at all three of the girls he went and took his place between Temi and Loma back in the shade.

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