The P`s are starting to hunt more and more now, after Paza`s mongoose kill and Penya`s recent bird encounter, their confidence is growing. They made an attempt at one of the fastest even-toed ungulates..... impala! Surrounded by long grass they only saw the impala as they crossed the road. Immediately they showed interest and they stalked from a distance. The impala watched curiously as both lions started to move forward. Penya moved away, choosing to flank left and Paza carried on down the road. After the impala`s curiosity wore off, the famous impala bark was heard and they sprang away elegantly into the long grass. Paza turned away from the direction where the impala used to be and came to us for some well deserved reassurance that her stalking deserved. Penya came and greeted her sister and we carried on with the walk. The P`s are getting better each time and will hopefully make a kill together before they reach eighteen months old.
The C`s have enjoyed another Night encounter, accompanied again by Animal Planet filmmaker, Don Percival. This time we left camp just before sunset and the four almost 25 month old lions were raring to go. They began by racing away from the vehicle as the excitement of the night encounter got the better of them. Chete in her usual energetic fashion, led the burst, followed by the usually lazy Chundu. Chete`s ears pricked up and with the minimal light that was left, we managed to see impala in the direction Chete was focused. Chundu, Chobe and Chisa were behind Chete and they began stalking with Chobe showing the most interest out of the three. Chete was calmer than usual, flanking right and aiming for the long grass. But sadly the impalas saw her step siblings in the open grassland and gave the alarm call. The first bark alerted the others in the herd and they fled as if their life depended on it (which it actually did). With darkness now fully upon us, we saw the perfect target for the lions...... a wildebeest mother and calf. Very encouragingly (and totally unexpected) Chundu led the stalk. He spotted the wildebeest first and proceeded with purpose. Chobe and Chisa (former buffalo killers) were right behind. Chobe had a burst of energy and keeping her body close to the ground, gained distance on the wildebeest, who were still unaware that four big lions were closing in on them. The wildebeest mother with her heightened instinct, spotted the lions and stared intensely at the four. Chobe and Chisa broke left and gained more distance then Chundu and Chete. The wildebeest became confused and started to move away from the oncoming lions. The lions gave chase but they had too much distance to cover. The lions stayed in the direction of the wildebeest, being very determined. For about two kilometres, we kept coming across the mother and calf, but the wildebeest were already spooked and they kept moving away before the lions could get too close. After the exciting wildebeest chase, we carried on deep into the park, but kept drawing a blank. Unfortunately we could not find much game on this encounter and started to head home. On the way they spotted two giraffe, but were not very interested. They half heartedly stalked toward them, but Chundu gave up before even really starting and decided to lay down. Chobe Chisa and Chete carried on for another ten metres or so and also decided to call it a day. We took this as a sign from the lions and began to make our way home.
The L`s have been on top form recently. The recent impala kill has made them alive to almost every hunting opportunity. They had a three hour walk, which was all captured on film by animal planet`s film maker Don Percival. They had six different hunts in this three hour period. The volunteer who was doing the prey response data was very busy indeed. On two stalks on impalathe impala were able see Lewa and Laili before it was too late. They also stalked red hartebeest with Laili getting to within twenty metres of the small herd. The rush ensued and the hartebeest turned and ran at full speed. The chase lasted for no longer than ten seconds. Sadly Laili broke from the stalk position too soon and the hartebeest had too much of a head start for Laili to catch up. Lewa sort of copied Laili throughout the hunt but lagged behind. She still participated in the hunt even if she was not the most helpful this time. later, walking through long grass we stumbled across a large herd of wildebeest. The lions were in a perfect place but the grass was so high they had trouble seeing the wildebeest until it was too late. We hung back and the lions led the way, but by the time the lions spotted the wildebeest they had already seen the two lions and were sounding alarm calls. Laili`s eared pointed straight toward the calls but as she looked up the wildebeest were already running away fast. She burst into a sprint and gave chase but the wildebeest were gone. Watching this, you could`nt help but admire her determination.
The best hunt(s) of the day were on zebra. This was a hunt and a double face off with a stallion. We came across a very brave herd of zebra, which in the beginning ran away from Lewa and Laili. The initial stalk was quite sloppy from the tiring lions, but the zebra did not seem too fazed by two young lions!! The stallion stayed at the rear of the herd as usual and when Laili approached he turned to face her. He charged back at Laili which she did not expect and turned and ran at full speed. The zebra ran angrily toward her and almost caught up with her. This was definitely a sight to behold. The roles had been completely reversed. It was a surreal experience, as it appeared to be the zebra stalking the lion!! Laili managed to outrun the stallion and Lewa not wanting to feel left out, decided to come after the stallion. She chased him away and then got very close to jumping on the stallions back. The tough stallion had had enough now and turned again. Now it was a stand off. The stallion charged again and Lewa almost bending in two, tried to make a swift getaway. The stallion kept coming and tried to bite Lewa. Luckily she got away and the stallion returned to the herd as the saviour. The two L`s will never underestimate the heart and bravery of a zebra stallion again.