A new world order?: Rusha puts some manners on Leya

29 09 2011

Leya cut a solitary figure on Kariba this morning (26th Sep).  Whilst the rest of the pride weren’t around she wasn’t totally lost for company as we found her dragging a wildebeest carcass towards waterpan 3.  Nearing the pride’s current favoured drinking spot we could see the slumped forms of the other five lions.

 

Still dragging the wildebeest along with her, Leya struggled on for several hundred metres until she too had reached the pan.

 

And then it all kicked off.

 

The plumpness of the lions’ waistlines made it clear that all of them had already eaten more than their share at an earlier point, but Kela, Temi and Rusha charged in at Leya and the rather pathetic looking remains. Loma and Kwandi sensibly sat this cat fight out.

Temi resurfaced from the scrum with a slight limp but otherwise unharmed, Kela and Leya withdrew from the battle with bruised egos and Rusha emerged victorious. While Rusha is one of the less dominant and youngest members of the pride, she’s easily the tallest in shoulder height and more than matches the older lions in bulk. To be blunt, she’s a beast.

 

Despite barely having a scrap of meat left on it, Rusha began to enthusiastically groom her meal. After having a considerable drink, Leya tried to approach Rusha but was met with an unwelcoming growl. On several more occasions she tried to shuffle up closer, but each time Rusha was having none of it.

 

Eventually, Rusha left the skin and bones; Kwandi had been eyeing them up for the last five minutes and without blinking moved straight in as Leya looked on.

After a quick drink, Rusha then moved West; normally she and Temi are thick as thieves but today Temi slept on next to Kela. Catching up to Rusha a little while later she’d found a shady spot up on Bwizu… having acted all tough and standing up to Leya before marching off into over the horizon by herself it was clear she wasn’t the big hot shot she made out and kept looking eagerly in the direction of the rest of the pride.

 

It seems all those longing stares did the trick as when we returned after breakfast only Kela was at pan 3 while everyone else had shifted positions to join Rusha. Not long after, three wildebeest began making their way across Puku Dambo, crossing in front of the lions which were only 40m away. As they walked on oblivious to the imminent danger one by one the five lions we were with became vigilant to them. But Kela was already on the case; she was shadowing the trio in a stalk out in the open from 50m away.  As first the wildebeest and then Kela passed, one by one the other lions fell into line behind her.

 

As they moved in sweeping fashion through the treeline that borders the next area (Bwizu) Kwandi overtook the lead. The wildebeest headed to the plain next to pan 2 to start grazing and in her haste Kwandi bolted about 20m and then sat down watching them. After another minute’s wait she stood and charged again – getting to 20m of the wildebeest before they noticed her. The two groups started each other down before the wildebeest fled.

 

The exertion of hunting in the midday heat on very full stomachs had clearly taken its toll and it was soon was business as usual with six sleeping lions.

 

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