O Rusha, where art thou?

26 10 2011

On the 24th all of the pride except Rusha was resting at Waterpan 3. While it isn’t odd for lions to break into smaller groups from time to time, and the Dambwa pride is no exception, it was a little strange that Rusha should be by herself. On the one occasion we’ve previously found her alone she called like a baby for her pride mates until she was reunited.

We could only assume that she had either slept through a move the rest of the pride had made earlier in the morning when it was cooler, or had gone off chasing something by herself and then couldn’t be bothered to make the return journey to the others in the rising heat.

So we set off in search of her and tracked her signal down to a large clump of bushes near the Sanga boundary. Getting as close as we could we peered through the vegetation for a flick of a tail or an ear and listened for the sounds of a lion shifting position or walking around in the grass and bushes.

But nothing.

We’d only been gone 20 minutes or so but by the time we returned to the others at pan 3, Loma and Leya had vanished. Kela, Kwandi and Temi were watching something intently to the West of their location and making our way in the direction of their gazes we discovered the Ls ambling back East and plonking themselves close to pan 1. They too must have seen something of interest, followed and then made for the nearest available shade once the hunt was up.

Later in the morning and the Ks and Temi had made their way to join Loma and Leya, but there was still no sign of Rusha. We returned to the scene of her signal, but once again came up with nothing. While we do try and leave the lions in peace when they make it clear that is what they want, we also do try and at least get a visual of them daily just to ensure all is well. A snake bite or a kick to the head while hunting zebra are very real possibilities for free-living lions.

While there’s no reason to panic for Rusha, we’re looking forward to seeing her tomorrow – just to be sure.

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