5: the social dynamics of the Dambwa pride

21 08 2011

Since the beginning of time (or 2008 as relates to the lions of this pride) Kwandi has sat as top cat of the Dambwa group.   Never much of an initiator but she does receive plenty of social interactions from her pride mates, and is often the first to start off any bouts of territorial roaring.  Meanwhile sister Kela is the unofficial “mother”; a leader and beta to her sister’s alpha, but more nurturing of the group.

The most interesting cat socially is probably Loma. At first glance she’s a fairly inconspicuous member of the pride, but associatively she is the glue which holds this rabble together. In stark contrast her sister Leya used to be a bit of an anti-social madam. But over the last year or so there’s been a softening around the edges to this reformed bully (although you still wouldn’t call her the caring-sharing type) and lately has risen in status to potentially challenge Kwandi’s position at the top of the pile. The pair are frequent associates though and if they initiate an interaction on anyone it’s likely to be each other.

Despite being physically the biggest female in the group, Rusha is second youngest and one of the least dominant members.   She can be seen more as a social networker; accepted by all, her primary focus in life seems to be sucking up to the Ks and Ls! But it appears to work as she is Kwandi’s playmate of choice with the pair initiating countless bouts of chasing and wrestling on one another.  Finally, Temi; as the smallest, youngest and newest member to join the group – she’s got her work cut out for her, but seems to have become Kela’s latest charge. She’ll never challenge the likes of Kwandi or Leya in status – but at least if there’s any trouble she can hide behind the protective force that is Kela!

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