Lion!
February 3 2015

Over the past couple of weeks the release site has begun to show the benefit of the rains and has been transformed from the patchy, sandy coloured, dry scrub to lush green grassland.  However, the beauty of the new bush definitely has its disadvantages for the research team.  On the morning of the 19th, the daily routine search for the lions began.  Generally, the pride is quite easy to locate; but today, an hour into the session, it seemed as if the team were not going to spot them at all.  But just as hope of finding the lions began to fade the team spotted something in Amboseli…  There, rising from the long grass and resting upon the trunk of a tree was a single paw.  At last, a lion!  The team approached slowly, unsure of whether the rest of the pride were scattered around the area or not. As they neared an area of flattened grass, 11 lions were revealed lazing together in the morning sunshine. 

On the 22nd, Milo was seeing the day in by resting in Amboseli; while the girls and AS5 were some distance away in the Treetops area.   By lunchtime, Milo had joined the rest of the pride; but he didn’t stay with them for very long and by early evening he was alone once again in Masai Mara.  As males are naturally less social than the females of a pride, spending more of their time on the periphery of their territory and keeping an eye out for intruders, Milo’s comings and goings are good example of how he is behaving just like a wild territorial pride male. 

The next day the pride was resting in the Camp area.  The research team had not long arrived to undertake the midday session when KE3 was spotted bounding along Cross Route.  The team were completely unaware of what had grabbed her attention and it seemed they weren’t the only ones.   As the rest of the pride stood vigilant to the goings-on, AT1 followed KE3 and she ran towards her.  On glancing back at KE3, the team noticed she had her nose to the ground and they jumped to the conclusion that she had probably caught a scrub hare, or perhaps a mongoose.  However, to their surprise, it was neither a hare nor a mongoose, but an eagle, which had appeared to have been pinned down by the skilful young lioness.  As AT1 reached KE3, KE3’s hold on the bird of prey must have relaxed and it took flight and escaped.  The fuss was over in minutes and the pride gradually came together again, wandering towards Route 66.  Once they had paused for a quick drink at the waterhole they all took to rest in Amboseli where they stayed for the remainder of the day. 

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