A bunch of tree huggers

7 02 2012

Yesterday (6th) was a day of rest for the pride. Everyone was in Kariba sleeping off the weekend’s large meal. Leya, Rusha and Zulu were still showing some amount of interest in the new resident at the breeding program, but this seems to be becoming less and less as time passes. In between bouts of vigilance, Leya showed off the pride’s new favourite activity – tree scratching. And to prove how good she is at it, every time she shifted into a new spot of shade away from the midday sun another tree came in for a comprehensive shredding.

This morning we found them milling about on the road bordering Chisamu. The day started off with the now obligatory tree scratch before resettling just off the main road. Zulu built hopes up for some activity when he marched off down the road to the north. As he disappeared out of sight, we decided to see where he was heading only to find him barely 10 metres further down the road, just around the next corner.

As the morning passed, the girls were playing some sort of relay shuffle race. First it looked like Loma and Leya were going to initiate a move, and Kela and Kwandi quickly responded by jumping to their feet and following – before all settled down 10 metres later in a row again. After a few minutes of rest, Kwandi then decided it was her turn and moved off a risky 15 or 20 metres with all six girls this time responding, before once again sitting down.

By this point Zulu, while no more than 30 metres away, was out of view. We listened to his pitiful cries as he realised he’d been abandoned. But it was only a short time before he stumbled through a bush and practically tripped over the others.

Returning to them at mid-morning we found they’d walked the length of the site and were once more in Kariba. This time not even the lure of a new tree to shred could rouse any of them.

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