Mist Opportunities
July 21 2015

Mist Opportunities

As the sun rose over Ngamo on the 6th of July the pride was resting together in one of their favoured spots of Amboseli.  It was a little before 8am when something caught the attention of KE3 and she was soon up on her paws and heading off to investigate.  The rest of the pride was watchful of the sub-adult lioness and the team were curiously scanning the area to see what had prompted her movements.  Very soon the source of KE3’s interest became apparent as a steenbok was spotted in Masai Mara; and it was also watching KE3.  The habitat of Masai Mara is one of open grassland with shrub cover somewhat scattered, and with the steenbok positioned in an area of higher ground, it was going to be quite a task for KE3 to successfully capture the small antelope.

KE3

The steenbok remained completely still and vigilant to KE3’s every move as she slowly began to stalk a little closer, in open cover.  Never one to pass up an opportunity to hunt, AT1 joined the pursuit and she headed off, far to the left, to provide greater coverage of their hunting ground.  Kenge and Kwali were up next and they were joined by AS5 who, unlike his father who remained resting the whole time, also took up a flanking position.  It wasn’t long before KE4 had also joined the pursuit and she followed behind her sister as the lions moved in on their prey.  Unfortunately the research team’s prediction of success being unlikely was correct and after a tense 21 minutes the steenbok made a run for it and bolted out of sight.  With the hunt coming to an immediate halt KE3 and her hunting companions slowly re-joined the rest of the pride in Amboseli where they remained for most of the day.

KE3 and steenbok

The following few days brought a change in the weather and the mornings saw a thick fog draped over Ngamo.   The eerie mist made visibility poor for the research team, and no doubt for the lions too, as their silhouettes emerged one by one from the fog.  On the 8th Milo’s mood was a bit unusual and the pride male could best be described as ‘being a grump’! The team wondered whether it was the peculiar weather front that had unsettled the pride a little, but whatever the reason, the females were very wary of Milo’s movements.  Ashanti, Kenge, Kwali and Nala have all by now had experience of the male’s feisty temperament and they were doing their best to keep out of his way.  Meanwhile his offspring were bearing the brunt of his morning outbursts and he chased them away at every opportunity, sending KE3 and KE4 fleeing from their father, before he took to rest once again beside his long-standing favourite lady, Phyre.

Nala in the mist

 

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 2011, having been walked in the rehabilitation phase of the ex situ conservation project, the African Rehabilitation and Release into the Wild Programme.  The prides’ 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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