The 26th marked three months since the Dambwa pride were released; and what better way to mark the occasion than with a slap-up meal?
We found the girls in Sibaka this afternoon (growing greener by the day thanks to the rains), celebrating their success as a pride over a meal of freshly-caught waterbuck, the kill likely made no more than half-an-hour before our arrival. Rusha and Kela were taking a break from the festivities whilst the others dragged the carcass back and forth trying to get to the best meat. The carcass had already been eviscerated and the offals lay in clumps, ignored for now, around the kill site.
Despite their rather full stomachs, the overcast and breezy weather meant that there were some rather high spirits with Rusha cockily provoking Kwandi into some hijinks.
After an hour or so, Loma moved in the direction of waterpan 1. Ten minutes later Kela and Leya made a similar move, and so did we. As we approached we could see Loma returning in the same direction, but she quickly concealed herself behind a bush and lay in ambush for her sister and Kela. As Leya neared she leapt out and the pair wrestled, before Loma took up the same position for Kela; but Kela was on a mission for water and just sauntered on past a rather disappointed Loma.
After such a cruel rejection, Loma soon left back in the direction of the kill, but we remained with Kela and Leya at the water pan. After a hearty drink the pair spent several minutes stalking one another from the river bed before they too headed back to the party.
But playtime at the water pan may well have cost them their share of the meal, as in the half-an-hour or so we had been absent Kwandi, Rusha, Temi and Loma had practically finished the carcass off. Temi even appeared to fall asleep for several minutes on one part of it (all that excitement of the big day had clearly worn her out). Leya tried to re-insert herself around the carcass, but there wasn’t much left to make it worthwhile; Kela sat a little way away in a huff – calculating her share of the bill.
Sunday, we entered the site in the afternoon to find the pride topping up their energy reserves on a quick puku snack. Unfortunately the session was short lived when a fairly intense storm entered the site forcing us out…