As the saying goes, if you spend most of your time snoozing the more likely you are to miss out on opportunities, and that is exactly what happened in Ngamo on the 4th of October. Ngamo is step 2 of the 4 step process and is situated at the Lion Breeding project in Zimbabwe. The previous day a scavenge opportunity had been set in an area known as Leopard Tree and the team anticipated the carcass would perhaps be discovered as the pride conducted their movements through the evening. The following morning when the research team arrived at 'Amboseli', on the far side of the site from Leopard Tree, they were a little surprised to find the pride blissfully resting in the morning sunshine. Well, we say the pride; there were in fact only nine lions present. A quick identification of everyone revealed that AT1 and KE3 were absent and the team surveyed the surrounding area to no avail. As character goes, AT1 is an independent young lioness, so it is not unusual for her to occasionally spend time away from the pride. She and KE3 have also developed quite a 'friendship' and so it is also not unusual to find the pair together from time to time. The team headed to Leopard Tree to see if the duo had discovered the carcass but it remained in its entirety, and there was no AT1 or KE3.
A return visit to Amboseli in the afternoon revealed no movement from the nine sleepy lions and so again the team journeyed to Leopard Tree to see if there had been any activity. As soon as they arrived they noticed that the carcass had clearly been disturbed, but there was not a lion in sight. The research team were flummoxed; how had the carcass moved? Who had moved it? Finally, the mystery was solved when the unmistakable crunching sound of teeth on bone came from an area ahead. A trail of flattened grass lead the team's eye some 40 metres into thick vegetation and there among the foliage was KE3 and AT1 feeding on the carcass!
Coincidentally, the 4th of October just happens to be KE3 and KE4's birthday and the team couldn't help feeling a little sorry for KE4 who, while her sister and AT1 were indulging in a slap-up birthday meal, was completely oblivious and resting among her pride mates.
The following morning the team headed straight to Leopard Tree keen to see whether the rest of the pride had finally broken their long spell of resting and discovered the meal. As they drew closer to the area they were met by Nala and Kenge lying across the road, both sporting large full bellies. A little further along the road sat a very fat looking KE3 who was resting with KE4 and Kwali, whilst AS4, AS5, Ashanti and AT1 were still feeding on the remains; although the team had no idea how AT1, with her belly fit to burst, had room for any more food after yesterday's feast! It wasn't long before Milo and Phyre returned from their brief visit to the waterhole and, after a series of comings and goings as the other pride members went to drink, they all came together to rest among the plentiful shade that the woodland area of Leopard Tree provides.
About the Ngamo Lion Release Site
The 6 adults (1 male and 5 females) of the 'Ngamo Pride' were captive born and released into the 'Ngamo Lion Release Site' in 2010, having been walked in the rehabilitation phase of the ex situ conservation project, the African Rehabilitation and Release into the Wild Programme. The pride's 5 offspring (1 male and 4 females) were born in the site and have had no human contact, display natural behaviours, and are intended for release into the wild in the final phase of the Programme.
For more information on how you can join the volunteers at Lion Breeding please check our website or contact us by email.
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