Kwandi shows off her hunting chops

21 11 2011

There were hearts in mouths this morning at Dambwa as not only did we see the lions hunting – but we saw the hunt come to a successful conclusion literally 20 metres away from us. After three months, we finally saw the pride make a kill.

Reports from the Dambwa security staff suggest that they may have caught a puku last night (19th) close to waterpan 2, when the shift changed over the distinct distress cry of a puku was heard in the area. But a puku will only go so far between hungry lions and this morning saw Kela, Kwandi, Leya and Loma somewhat restless in Kariba. Temi and Rusha were prowling the other side of the site near Chisamu and Tsavo.

When we returned after breakfast, the four were still in Kariba but Kela, Loma and Leya were watching a herd of 20 impala and one puku who had tagged onto them.  Kwandi had her back to the prey and by all accounts wasn’t aware of their presence. Kela was literally strung so taught trying to restrain herself for the right moment that she looked as though she might snap. Eventually she managed to stalk 15m to the next bush – but just as she reached the cover the impala spotted her and snorted. Seizing the chance Kela raced in, splitting the herd and driving half of the impala east along the tree line, we soon lost sight of her but she was swiftly closing in. Meanwhile, the L sisters and Kwandi began chasing the remaining herd in the other direction but were given the slip when the impala doubled back and raced past them.

It was at this point that Kwandi spotted the puku, clearly unsure which way to go. It was a very quick chase, probably only 20m and she was on top of it. In the blink of an eye Loma and Leya raced over to assist her. Unfortunately for the puku it wasn’t a quick death at all. As the three lions began tearing into it, it took approximately seven long minutes before it finally died.

For a while we thought perhaps Kela had caught something herself as well and were considering going looking for her when about 10 minutes after the catch she came trotting up to the feeding frenzy. And of course all hell broke loose. There was plenty of growling and huffing as everyone was forced round to make space for her, and not long after something set Loma off which saw her dragging the carcass with Kwandi still attached to it about 15m. Having been taken along for the ride Kwandi continued eating while Loma held tightly onto the head; growling and snarling every few seconds.

Kela and Leya had to be content with the bits and pieces that had been left in Loma’s wake.

Checking in with Rusha and Temi, they were sound asleep in Chisamu and had no idea they were missing out on lunch but what they don’t know didn’t seem to hurt them as they rested contently in the shade.

By the time we returned to the others they had moved what was left of their meal back to their original location; Kwandi and Loma continuing to polish off the scraps – but separately this time.

 

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