What’s going on in there?

28 02 2012

Once again, the weather has done a pretty good job of keeping us out of the site over the last week or so. This morning when we went in, we got to see just what effect the downpours have been having on the Dambwa Release Area. The entire area, including the roads, is now dwarfed by six to eight foot grass; swamping our vehicle and of course the lions. Over the last few weeks, the viewing has been difficult – now it’s practically non-existent.

Having tracked their signals to the edges of the Acacia boundary it took the better part of the two hours to pick out seven forms in the grass and then wait for each one to stand up and resettle in a new position until we were able to identify each lump confidently. A morning well spent.

A game count after breakfast proved fairly fruitless, with the game proving just as difficult to spot as the lions. Even when we did happen to catch a flash of an animal in the grass counting them was more guess work than anything else.

Back to the lions and thankfully some of them had shifted into the shade of a tree and the grass they had flattened around them gave a few glimpses of activity and behaviour.

The now obligatory tree scratch of each session came today from Loma, who then and had good old groom with Rusha.

Temi and Zulu watched the skies while Leya slept on and the Ks remained stubbornly just out of sight until we were about to leave when Kwandi finally came into view.

By all accounts, a quiet and relaxing time in Dambwa… but who knows what’s going on in that grass?!





The Dambwa girls earn their stripes

4 10 2011

Recently the lions have been spending a lot time in the Sahara area of the site digesting all the wildebeest from earlier in the week.  On the morning of the 29th Loma and Rusha were missing from the group’s favoured spot in this area. Having found the other four a stone’s throw away from where they’d spent all day on the 28th the absentees’ signals led us to neighbouring Chisamu. Try as we might however, we just couldn’t get a visual of them.

Returning to Kela, Kwandi, Leya and Temi it wasn’t long before we heard the gentle calling of a lost lion. Making her way through the grass was Loma. The closer she got the more apparent the rather fresh blood on her face became and after several greetings to her pride mates she flopped down and the stomach size told the rest of the story. Ten minutes later and Rusha repeated the process; complete with rouged cheeks.

None of the other lions bore these tell-tale signs, and with Loma and Rusha being two of the weakest hunters in the pride, it’s encouraging to see that they can pool their collective efforts and come up with something even if they don’t have the star hunters like Leya, Kwandi and Temi around. Game counts later that day suggest their victim was impala.

By afternoon the main order of the day was of course rest. That was until Kela woke up…

Having come into oestrus on the 27th she was still troubling Leya and throughout the afternoon Kela would rush over to her, lie on top of her, run off, roll around on her back for a bit, before repeating the process over and over again. The sounds coming from Leya’s direction made it clear she was enjoying this extra attention about as much as you’d enjoy having teeth pulled.

On the 1st October, their signals led us to Chobe – and straight to the same thicket they’d been in on the 8th September. On that occasion we’d just been able to make out their forms and that of a wildebeest carcass. Today however they were so deep into it no visual could be made. What we could see however were a couple hooded vultures perched close by; but the terrain made it impossible for us to get to their location. So it was time for another game count.

So far we’ve seen the lions mainly target the wildebeest with the odd puku and impala thrown in for variety’s sake. On the game count we found that there was a zebra missing; the pride’s first since being released. After completing the count we returned to the source of the lions’ signals but nothing could be seen or heard. Still, it didn’t take Miss Marple to work out that one missing zebra plus vultures close by to the lions’ location is likely to equal six very full bellies.








%d bloggers like this: