Kwali Nose Best
Being a lower ranking member of the Ngamo pride can often mean that your comings and goings to the group can go unnoticed by your pride mates; whereas movements away from the group that are initiated by a higher ranking member, such as Phyre or Ashanti, are more likely to prompt the rest of the pride to watch with interest and then ultimately move to follow.
Yet, for gentle-natured Kwali, a female placed near the lower end of the dominance hierarchy, things seem to be a little different. It is not very often that Kwali initiates a movement; being a very a social individual she opts to remain with the pride for the majority of the time, rather than spend time on her own. However, on the odd occasion she does begin to move away she usually manages to draw the rest of the pride along with her. Why should this be?
The research team has noticed that Kwali seems to have an impeccable sense of smell. On occasions when a scavenge opportunity is secretly placed in Ngamo it is almost always she who is first to pick up the scent, sniffing the air with her nose held high, before trotting away in the direction of the carcass.
On the 17th of October, as the pride were resting blissfully in ‘Amboseli’, an easterly wind blew across Ngamo and Kwali put her nose to good use once again. After sniffing the air intermittently she rose to her paws and headed towards ‘Route 66’, slowly closing in on the meal that was concealed in the ‘Kruger’ area of the site. Of course, as the rest of the pride began to pick up the scent, Kwali’s leadership was no longer required and her pride mates hurriedly overtook her in the rush to find the source of the smell.
These scent following skills seem to have earned the low ranking lioness somewhat of a reputation among her pride mates who have most likely learnt over time that, when it comes to finding food, Kwali ‘nose’ best!
About the Ngamo Lion Release Site
The 6 adults (1 male and 5 females) of the ‘Ngamo Pride’ were captive born and released into the ‘Ngamo Lion Release Site’ in 2010, 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 5 offspring (1 male and 4 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.
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