On the 12th of December the research team made arrangements to conduct a territorial playback for the pride as it had been a while since one was last performed. The recording was to be of wild dogs, a sound the Ngamo pride have never previously been exposed to. The team and volunteers were very excited to see their response.
The pride had begun their day by resting together in Amboseli, but by the time the team returned to them in the afternoon for the playback they were all beginning to get a little more active. It was Kenge who led the group away, with daughters KE3 and KE4 following closely behind her. As usual Nala was the last to make a move to follow, but today, other than her lowly status in the pride, there looked to have been another reason why she took her time; she was fat; very fat! Nala had clearly made a kill recently, and as she was the only one showing any evidence of feeding, the team concluded that she has not lost her habit of successfully hunting solo.
The lions were in the Serengeti West area by the time the playback began and as the sound of the wild dogs resonated across the site the lions, now being led by Kwali, came to a standstill. After a moment, they began to trot away in the direction of the sound but they hadn’t travelled much distance before they changed direction and began running, the research team unclear as to what was distracting them. It soon became apparent as AS4 came into view with an impala fawn between her jaws! The rest of her pride members followed her closely but AS4 took cover under a shrub and began to tuck in. Milo approached AS4 but the feisty young lioness was in no mind to part with her reward; she growled as he stood over her. Deciding not to challenge her Milo simply scent marked beside her, letting her know that he remains dominant regardless of whether he is claiming her food or not.
On the 13th the lions were once again resting through the morning. They were all closely huddled together in the shade of a tree when Kenge unexpectedly woke herself up by ‘grunting’ in her sleep. The research team were quite amused when the rest of the pride also awoke with a startle, each of them looking around to see what on earth had just happened.
The following few days saw a pattern develop with the weather. The mornings began fairly mild but by afternoon, the clouds had rolled in and the downpours commenced, blowing in like sheets across the site. By late afternoon of the 15th, the pride were beginning to yawn and stretch as the sky grew dark with the a storm approaching. Suddenly the research team were alerted to all of the lions dashing towards Kwali as she was emerging from the grass with a striped weasel in her mouth! Kwali is usually very good at escaping quickly with food she has gained but the scent of the weasel must have been too offensive, as she didn’t behave particularly possessive over it. As usual, cunning AS4 managed to sneak in and whisk it away, carrying the weasel 20 metres or so. It wasn’t long before she too was turning her nose up at the odour and the unfortunate weasel became an object of play as opposed to a meal.
Gradually the sky darkened and the storm opened up over the release site. Although these are not the first of the rains this year, they are becoming more regular; however despite this, the lions always seem to look thoroughly fed up when the deluge begins resulting in 11 not-so-happy cats!