Since the appearance of a certain rather large wild male lion at the Dambwa enclosures (see statement released 31st January) the pride’s time has been consumed guarding the closest boundary of their territory to worry about anything else. After seven days of vigilance the pride has decided that their borders are secure and went about their normal business.
Friday (3rd) found everyone up and around on Tsavo milling around a carcass. We first came across Rusha, Leya, Loma and Zulu. The others weren’t far according to their signals’ strengths but certainly weren’t within sight. As we pulled up we could see Rusha and Leya were feeding from the now rather rotten remains, while Zulu was chasing Loma around. As we were to learn as the afternoon went on, Zulu had stashed a large amount of the meat in a nearby bush which he was jealously guarding.
Loma had strayed a little too close – but it wouldn’t be the last time she gave it a try.
Within a few minutes Kwandi came plodding through the grass to join the group. With an already full belly she didn’t seem too interested in eating but had a nose through the stinking scraps before sitting down.
Rusha then headed off in the direction from which Kwandi arrived and we followed her suspecting she may be able to lead us to Kela and Temi, which she did as they rested under a tree a couple of hundred metres away from the scavenge site.
The rest of the afternoon was categorised by Kwandi’s group trying to eat and Zulu policing the entire affair. At one point he sensed an attack was mounting on his stockpile and lunged out at a sleeping and completely innocent Kwandi, only to miss Loma running off with some of his stash. Having made such a nuisance of himself, Loma led her sister and Kwandi away from the tyrant and slumped down for some rest.
Having chased off all competition for the remaining food, Zulu suddenly realised he was alone and we could hear his pitiful cries as he tried to locate the girls shortly before he came into view with his nose to the ground sniffing them out. Sitting on Loma’s head once he found them, Leya then sensed her opportunity and made a dash back to the food . Kwandi and then Loma followed, but of course they were soon back under the watchful eye of Zulu.
This morning (4th), Kela was alone resting in the road between Kariba and Sibaka. A short search found everyone else except Temi resting in some bushes near water pan 2.
As the group shifted around and had a morning stretch they eventually settled in yet another bush. A rustle in the tall grass soon woke everyone back up though – all eyes flew open, perhaps still nervous about their new neighbour. But it was just Temi, who zeroed straight in on Zulu for a head rub before settling in amongst the group.