Over recent months we’ve seen Zulu transform from a figure within the pride that was more akin to a brother to the females, or just "the big one who eats most of the food", into that of a burgeoning pride male. No more has this been evident than in the repeated attempts to mount a number of the females. So far he’s been met with little more than bemusement as time again the lucky girl in question has crawled out from underneath him, given him a bit of look before resettling a few metres away. Although this last week he was rewarded with a fat slap from Leya for his attentions.
Kela greeting Zulu
On Wednesday the 15th the pride was on a stroll west from Waterpan 3. Stopping for a brief rest Kela was sat approximately 20m from the others. After a few minutes she walked over to join her pride, greeting Zulu before settling between him and Temi. Zulu stood and mounted her, but Kela wasn’t playing and remained firmly “out of position”. In fact her only response was to groom Temi.
Later that same afternoon the pride had moved further East. Towards the end of the day Kela once more walked over to Zulu to greet him, only this time – tail flicking in the air – presented herself to him. The couple moved into tall grass where Zulu could be seen to mount her. Despite our view being obstructed we can be fairly confident that mating did not take place, as there are certain tell-tale noises lions make during mating which were not heard. Unfortunately for Zulu, it seems at this point in time Kela is merely… warming up.
By Saturday (18th) the pride was back at Waterpan 3. Bellies heaving and a rouge tint to their faces they’d clearly eaten well in the last few hours.
A fat Zulu trying to get comfortable at Waterhole 3; female he's next to is Leya. Kela and Temi also in shot
Loma & Kela
A good meal always gives way to a good mood and as Loma began to clean the blood from Kela’s coat, Kela took this as a sign it was playtime. What started as some allo-grooming ended up as a full-blown wrestling match – mostly against Loma’s will. After several minutes, Loma managed to extract herself from Kela’s over-eager grip and made her way to safer territory.
Having had her play rebuffed, and in spite of the extra KGs she was carrying Kela was still listless and roused the pride on a move which Zulu quickly took over.
Leading them to a clearing in one of the burnt areas of the site the pride settled again with Kela next to her sister. While the others dropped off one by one the siblings remained alert. After 20 minutes or so Kela once more rose and walked over to Zulu; again tail flicking. As she leant down to greet him he immediately stood and tried to mount her; pushing down repeatedly on her back to force her into position, but Kela refused to yield and once more led him 20m from the others. As far as we can tell, while there appears to be something going on with Kela at the moment, the pair has not mated.
Kela & Zulu
This morning (19th) and things had calmed down considerably, not just with Kela but all pride members . With a good meal to digest – and too much activity the previous day on a full stomach – they passed the day in a heap beneath their favourite tree in Kariba.