It was one heck of a close call on the morning of the 8th of May for the Ngamo lionesses.
Kwali was found sauntering past gate two down into the Maasai Mara area looking for her pride mates, or so we thought. We passed slowly along Mara Cross route looking for the rest of the pride when Ashanti was spotted frozen stiff in the long grass. We followed her gaze towards a herd of zebra and wildebeest swishing their tails anxiously. As we began to position the research vehicle out of the way Kwali suddenly sprung from the depths of the grass straight after three of the zebra. Kwali’s never failing new sidekick, AT1, also gave chase and both lions were literally a claws reach from breakfast! The zebra managed to turn swiftly and safely out of reach but the girls were not giving up. Nala began chasing the herd towards Amboseli as Kenge and Ashanti taunted a lone zebra still in Maasai Mara. The lionesses’ effort was all in vain in the end as all zebra managed to escape, though some with a few new battle wounds.
On the 10th we soon found that one of those lucky zebra had, well, ran out of luck! Milo, Phyre and cubs were spotted by the ruckus they created whilst feeding upon the new kill. A large proportion had already been eaten and, as usual, as meat begins to dwindle, tempers begin to flare.
Little, harmless AS4 was thoroughly enjoying some ribs but as she edged closer to dad, Milo’s vicious side emerged. Milo swatted AS4 hard on the back catching his dewclaw on her and dragging her momentarily like a small doll. Ashanti quickly rose to her paws as her daughter cried out. The incident was over in a matter of seconds with hardy AS4 shook-up more than anything else. Mother’s kisses soon calmed the little cub down and it wasn’t long before she was back at the dinner table.
As the morning went on the eldest daughter, and often daddy’s girl, AT1 approached Milo to share his carcass. Rather than allowing her to eat or bluff charging to ward her off the little lioness’s approach caused Milo to fly into a full rage and he attacked her. As she needs to do, AT1 quickly submitted, rolling onto her back and crying out. Milo returned to his ever-so special meal just as quickly as he had left, leaving AT1 disciplined and defeated. AT1 rose to reveal a nasty scratch bleeding from her chest, but.despite the severe appearance of blood down her chest it was a superficial scratch and AT1 soon cleaned herself up. This is an important lesson for AT1 as she continues to lose the privileges offered to cubs within pride life and continues her development to being an independent member of the pride.
The Ngamo pride are taking part in the African Lion Rehabilitation & Release into the Wild Program.