The Dambwa pride enter 2012 as a close-knit pride

5 01 2012

The 30th found the pride in two separate groups pretty much for the first time since Zulu’s inclusion to pride – perhaps the novelty of their new toy has worn off for some of the girls already. Kela and Leya were busy resting in Kariba while the rest of the pride was further up in Sibaka.

We’d already started the morning’s activity budget when around 30 white-backed vultures perched themselves about 80m away in the Sanga treeline. Unable to leave the lions until the hour was up we could only speculate as to what was over there to attract their attention – the lions certainly didn’t look like they’d fed on anything much since we’d last seen them. A light drizzle began to fall, barely heavy enough to bother the lions, but the vultures didn’t seem too pleased and hunched over themselves on their perches.

With the lions in full resting mode, the birds were actually proving more worthy of observation as they shuffled around the branches to dry their wings in the sun once the rain had stopped.

Later that morning Kela and Leya had joined the rest of the pride and as the sun grew stronger after the morning’s light shower all seven tried to cram themselves into the smallest patch of shade available, despite their being plenty of other trees and shelter around. Zulu couldn’t quite cram himself in.

By the next day, the pride were clearly excited about New Year’s and were marching up the boundary road led by the K sisters towards water pan 3. With the lions all in sight, we decided to leave them a little something to celebrate the new year and while we watched them a second vehicle entered the site to drop them a scavenge in a different area of the site.

After a while, Zulu led his girls back towards water pan 1 and it was during the move that Kwandi suddenly began acting like a lady on a mission. She ran up and greeted him a couple of times, tail aloft and certainly giving the impression that she was coming into oestrus. However, Zulu continued to lead the move and didn’t really pay her too much attention, but did keep a close eye on her once the pride had resettled at pan 1.

On the 1st, everyone was back at pan 3 looking like they’d partied a bit too hard the night before. There was no sign of the scavenge we’d left for them the previous afternoon and everyone slept on with bloated tummies.

Yesterday (4th) and Kela and Zulu were alone in Kariba.  The rest of the pride were in social form up on Tsavo and not long after we arrived and after a couple of head rubs to get everyone going Leya marched the group across the area and into Sahara before everyone pretty much plonked themselves in a bush and more or less out of our sight.

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