Winter has truly come. The days are warm but the early mornings and late evenings are cold cold cold requiring jackets, gloves, and beanies. One of The Four Lionesses has had her cubs. She is playing the dutiful mother, only coming out early mornings and at night to hunt and spending the days holed up with her cubs. Her sisters are in and out of the den site.
The other day my guests and I found two of the sister’s tracks and got to work. After awhile we found a small Kudu they had killed. It was very fresh but they had only eaten half, which is strange. We followed their tracks to water and then on again back towards the den site, (some few kilometers away), and into very thick bush to sleep for the day. That night we tracked and found the elephants and then we rewarded with a beautiful sighting of out large male and large female Lions.
The next morning we decided to see if we could catch the mother while she was sun bathing in an open area near her den. We found tracks but no visual of her and her sisters. Then, over the radio, another ranger, again quite a ways away, called in that they had tracks and then visual. As we got there we saw that all four sisters had ventured far from the cubs back to where the little bit of Kudu meat was left. But they were not eating the Kudu; they had killed a warthog shortly before we arrived.
My guests and I watched as first one Lioness ate, and then another came and eagerly took the kill and ran off, having her share, before I was again stolen by another Lioness. The crunching sound of their carnassicial shears and the blood spattered growling faces at such close proximity made one of my guest’s comment that it felt like he was inside National Geographic.
Fantastic sighting and worth the chilly morning spent tracking.
By: Noelle DiLorenzo – River Lodge Ranger