We entered the release site on the 22nd expecting to find the pride sleeping off the previous days' zebra kill in Serengeti East. We headed straight to where they had all previously been seen only to find gnawed ribs and tattered skin. After some hardcore tracking we found some of the Ngamo lionesses belly up in the Kruger area. We expected the lions to be looking slightly chunkier after their feed but the girls were looking excessively large this morning. As our researcher’s suspicions rose growling was heard from the dense scrubland nearby - another kill??
We locked the vehicle into low range and rambled slowly through stunted mopane bushes to find Milo ferociously guarding a another zebra carcass! It appeared c. 70% had already been consumed suggesting a kill late the previous evening. Milo bellowed his claim on the kill to AT1 and Ashanti as they incessantly attempted to feed, but did however allow the younger pride members to feed to their little heart’s content.
By mid morning Milo decided it was best to take his beloved zebra further into the shade to avoid the rising heat and any watching vulture eyes. However dad did not clarify this movement with KE3 beforehand, who, with tiny growls of annoyance held onto the rib cage for all her worth and was pulled along as Milo dragged the carcass away.
By the afternoon Milo was still not satisfied with perhaps the ambience of the Kruger area and dragged the kill some 400m to water hole 3 where all the lionesses had moved to for a beverage and a nap. The lionesses appeared most pleased with Milo’s thoughtfulness of bringing dinner to their resting spot. This didn’t however mean he was ready to share and proceeded to chase all of them away.
On the 23rd with bellies still full we found the pride resting up by water hole 2. By late afternoon Nala and Narnia who still had some room in their stomachs took after some nearby zebra much to our surprise. The zebra managed to evade death by fleeing into Serengeti West but we did spot 1 zebra with a rather substantial wound to its hindquarters. As the sun began to set Nala and Narnia tried their luck again in the infamous thicket of Amboseli - a perfect hunting ground. Again though, luck was on the zebra’s side and all escaped into Maasai Mara.
On the 24th it seemed hunger was perhaps building again amongst the pride. We located them moving north in Etosha through the tall grass when luck would have it; some zebra were heading directly towards them. All lions crouched low to the ground but the leading stallion was not suffering fools lightly and spotted the pesky cats. He fled into the grass with his herd at full pace but Kwali was hot on his case. We briefly lost visual of the chase when suddenly Kwali launched herself onto the rump of a fleeing zebra. As magnificent an attempt as this was Kwali is the smallest of the lionesses at approximately 110kgs, whilst the zebra stallion weighs in at around 315kgs. Kwali tried to bring the animal down, but without assistance from the rest of the pride the weight difference between hunter and hunted was too much and she slid off as her prey made its escape.
On the 26th we spotted some round, golden blobs in the distance of Maasai Mara as we entered through gate 2. Our researcher confirmed with her bino’s that these blobs were in fact some very, very fat lionesses. We followed the swaying bellies down towards Mara Cross Route to find another zebra kill, their third in six days. Milo, as always,was throwing his weight around close to the carcass. The youngest cubs were allowed to feast, though we have no clue as to where they are putting all this meat! The females however seemed unable to move and spent a large proportion of the day flat out on their backs. Our researcher was in fits of laughter as the cubs waddled their way after AT1 for a few play bouts. The weight in their bellies appeared to almost unbalance their sprinting should they take a corner too tightly and all eventually flopped down panting heavily but looking most content.
KE3 (front), KE4 (rear)