Where is the lone ranger?

31 08 2011

Five of the lions, Kela, Kwandi, Loma, Leya and Rusha, were at Waterpan 2 first thing this morning (30th) relaxing in the warming sun. Loma and Rusha’s stomachs looked a little rounded, certainly not wildebeest or zebra rounded, but perhaps they’d snacked on impala or puku overnight.

Leya led a short move followed by sister Loma and Rusha. Settling in the shade of a tree and within seconds all three bellies were pointing skywards. Later Kwandi and finally Kela joined them.

But where was Temi?

Her signal led us some distance away to the Sanga Boundary in the Sibaka area of the site. The tree lines which the boundaries of the site are built into are fairly impenetrable by vehicle. Much squinting ensued and after a couple of mistaken sightings of logs we took a GPS for her strongest signal and left her to her own devices in privacy.

Later that morning the five were still unconscious under the same tree, and Temi was still hidden away in the tree line, although her signal suggested she’d edged a little closer up nearer to the Chobe area; but still no visual could be made.

Since the pride were released, we haven’t seen them actually feeding on any carcasses. Stomach sizes suggest they haven’t been going hungry however. As no vultures have been seen congregating in any area of the site no kill locations have been established either. So in the heat of the day while the lions slept we counted game to try and work out what had actually been killed.

The Dambwa Forest isn’t called a forest for nothing. Even after the fire a month before the pride was released the open areas where all the grass has been burnt away are still populated by dense thickets. Several counts ahead of the pride’s release were required to get accurate numbers of game populations and today proved just as difficult with the wildebeest stubbornly standing in two thickets and a number of impala hiding in the Acacia boundary. According to our counts today, the lions have killed an exceptional eight wildebeest, some 20 impala and a handful of puku all in four days! And not a vulture in sight. It isn’t likely.

By the afternoon the five were starting to get a little livelier. A mass grooming session followed by a bumbling stalk on some guinea fowl by Rusha and Loma kicked things off. But the pair soon gave up when the rest of the pride headed off towards Lusaka road and across into Chobe. Heading West they then plonked themselves down in another of Dambwa’s infamous thickets and out of our sights.

One last search for Temi yielded only the same results as earlier. Her signal stayed stubbornly put in the Sanga treeline. But at least the rest of the pride was slowly edging that way and the lone ranger will hopefully meet up with the rest of the Dambwa posse before long.




2 responses

6 09 2011


Just wondering …

When will a male be introduced to the group and also are all the females able to breed as in the Ngamo pride some of the females are not?

7 09 2011

We would like to be confident that the females have bonded and are well settled before introducing a male. The choice of which male is most suitable is also still under discussion with the Zambia Wildlife Authority. All the females within the Dambwa pride are capable of breeding.

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