Something’s Got Milo All Phyre’d Up
Over the past couple of weeks the pride have been doing what lions do best and spending a lot of their time resting in some of their favoured spots in Ngamo. Nevertheless, for the research team, the time spent observing the lions never fails to reveal interesting insights into pride life.
One of the most interesting observations the team have made recently is the reappearance of VIP, or should we say VIL (Very Important Lion) couple, Phyre and Milo. The pair have been spending a considerable amount of time beside each other recently, and Milo has been so motivated to stay close to the high-ranking female that he has been making sure no other pride member comes between them. At first Milo was growling and chasing the rest of the pride away, resulting in him being the only one close to Phyre. However, as the month went on the females and AS5 began to give the couple a wide berth, and whenever Phyre would near them, almost certainly being followed by Milo, they would flee from the area leaving ‘Phy-lo’, as the team fondly refers to them, to rest together.
By the 22nd of August Milo’s interest in Phyre was intensifying and after spending a minute or two grooming her, he took to a mating position and attempted copulation. Phyre however was lying on her side throughout the whole episode and so needless to say the amorous male’s thrusts were a little off target, much to the amusement of the research team.
Phyre and the females of Ngamo are all contracepted to prevent any inbreeding, and as a result they do not enter oestrus. A female in oestrus will emit pheromones signalling to a male her reproductive state. As contraception prevents this stimulus that, under normal circumstances, would cause Milo to be so interested in Phyre, the research team have to wonder, could it be that he just can’t get enough of his favourite lioness?
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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