Found (sort of): one ex-bird

4 11 2011

Some cooler and breezy weather over the last few days have given rise to a few signs of activity in the Dambwa pride.  This morning (3rd) Kela, Kwandi, Loma and Leya were once more in Kariba, close to water pan 1. An enormous greeting session was in progress as we arrived which threatened to knock a couple of lions off of their feet, such was its vigour.

Eventually they settled down, only for Loma to become alert to a herd of impala and a lone puku grazing the other side of water pan 1; 150m away.

Loma isn’t much of hunter and made no approach, but what she lacks in action and tactics she makes up for with vigilance and didn’t take her eyes of the herd until the others had caught on about 10 minutes later. Kariba is one of the areas hit by fire prior to the lions’ release and with no rains as yet, it’s a bit barren making stalking in broad daylight something only the most skilful hunter could attempt.

Enter Leya.

 

A thorn in the foot almost foiled her attempt a mere five metres into the stalk, but she picked it out and soldiered on another few metres to the next tree with a better vantage point.

Water pan 1 is set in a natural riverbed and during the dry season water is pumped in. With nothing to hide behind in her approach, Leya patiently waited until almost all the herd had made their way down the bank to drink so that she could approach unnoticed. Covering a further 80m in the blink of an eye she found a bush to hide in just 20m away from the riverbed. Soon Kwandi followed, and even Loma got involved, and they took up their positions about 50m behind Leya. Kela kept an eye out from a safe distance.

As the herd climbed back out of the riverbed and turned their backs to the lions they began grazing again, heads down and oblivious. Leya rose from her position to cover the last stretch but was spotted just before she could make it to the water pan. Game over.

Meanwhile, Rusha and Temi were in Kulibe. In the local dialect kulibe means nothing, literally. This corner of the site is so named because there is nothing there except a wall of trees and grass, and you can see… nothing. The signals appeared to place them pretty much in the middle of all this nothing, and we didn’t have a rat’s chance in Kulibe of seeing them.

By mid-morning the KLs were in more restive form in Kariba and Rusha and Temi were still in Kulibe. As we conducted our daily game count we found evidence that while the morning’s impala hunt hadn’t gone quite to plan, sometime overnight someone had possibly caught themselves a bird (any ideas what type, answers on a postcard please) at waterpan 2; a light snack that should keep them going until the next big meal.

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