Double trouble

29 09 2011

Before we’d even entered the site this morning we knew exactly where we would find the lions and what they’d be doing; thanks to the Dambwa security staff telling us!  At around 04:30 this morning staff at Lusaka Gate had heard the lions making a kill in the Tsavo area of the site and so naturally that’s where we headed straight away.

On arriving in Tsavo, sure enough, we found Kwandi and Rusha sitting proudly next to a half-eaten carcass and panting furiously with the effort of it all, Kela and Temi were about 30m away watching a bush to their right.  In this bush were Leya, Loma and a second wildebeest carcass, also half-eaten. The ladies had had a busy morning.

 

The kill sites were close by and the blood was still fresh on the grass; vultures were already circling above. Rusha went to eat from the carcass closest to her for a good 20 minutes or so before deciding she needed to drag it 30 odd metres away (maybe to burn off a few of those extra calories). As she was doing so, Leya was immediately up on her feet and approached her. Yesterday morning we saw a bit of kerfuffle between these two over the remains of their previous kill with Rusha emerging victorious; this time however, she made a few low moans and backed down immediately and let Leya eat alone.

 

Kela then sauntered over to feed from the second carcass and was shortly followed by Temi. With everyone crowding the area, Leya then thought it’d be a good idea to drag Rusha’s original carcass into the thicket where everyone else was sleeping and the second carcass was. The place was getting crowded and it was at this point that Rusha decided she needed a bit of space and went and found herself a spot of shade some 60m away.

 

But Leya had more than wildebeest wrestling to contend with this morning. Kela had come into oestrus shortly after the pride was released and during those few days Leya had been on the receiving end of Kela’s amorous behaviour. And this morning… Kela was back on heat; seemingly from nowhere, one minute she was eating quite happily, the next – boom, she was acting like a lovesick school girl! Once again, she only had eyes for Leya and greeted her repeatedly before flopping on top of her and rolling on her back. After several minutes of being harassed Leya finally snapped, bared her teeth and moved next to Kwandi. Kela clearly can’t take a hint, and swiftly followed.

 

Later in the day, and Temi had wandered over to join Rusha in a more exclusive patch of shade, and Loma and Kwandi were sticking to the other side of the bush well out of the way of Kela’s fussing. She’d calmed down a little since the morning but was still sticking close to Leya – who had found an excuse every once in a while to get away from her admirer by chasing the vultures away who were picking up the scraps of the lions’ latest meals.

 

 

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