On the morning of the 12th of September, the Ngamo research team located Milo, Kenge, Nala, KE4 and AS4 in ‘Serengeti East’ finishing off the remains of a recent meal. With the amount of food available rapidly decreasing the lions began wandering around the area looking for the best scraps. There was plenty of activity; Kenge and KE4 battled to gain the same portion, Nala cleverly managed to whisk a juicy chunk of meat from right under Milo’s nose, and AS4 busied herself chasing away the pied crows as they tried their luck to gain some scraps. Meanwhile, the rest of the pride was sleeping off their meal at waterhole 2.
By the afternoon the pride had left the waterhole and as the team made their rounds to some of the lions’ more favoured spots to try and locate them, they encountered a lone AS5 wandering along Cross Route in the Etosha area of the site. Clearly not content at being alone AS5 made several contact calls, most likely in the hope that one of his pride mates would respond and thereby letting him know of their whereabouts. However, no such response came. The team decided to tag along with AS5 in his search for the rest of his pride as the young male is not by himself very often, and his efforts in trying to find them would make interesting observation.
The team trailed slowly behind AS5 as he wandered through Ngamo, re-visiting the recent feeding area, before arriving in the open grass area of Hwange. By this time his contact calls were almost constant and, after a little while, what started off as soft calls became more intense and he bellowed out a roar; yet still no response came from the rest of the pride. The young male eventually gave up and he took rest in the long grass until fading light forced the research team to head for an exit. The research vehicle pulled away, leaving the lonely male to his own devices and headed towards the Camp area with its gate out of the release site. There, in all their glory, was the rest of the pride, basking in the cooling evening sun. As the team jotted down some positional data a roar was heard in the distance and, as one or two of the pride turned their heads to listen, AS4 rose and headed off in the direction of the call, no doubt to join her big brother.
Over the following few days the pride spent the majority of their time resting, expectedly so after a hefty meal. However by the morning of the 19th it was easy to see that the lions had been busy once again, with Kwali, Kenge, AT1, AS4 and AS5 all having suspicious patches of blood-staining on their fur indicating that an impala kill had likely taken place sometime in the early hours. Who was responsible for the dispatch was, of course, unknown.
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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