The Playful Pride

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Posted by Sara Blackburn at 2:23 PM

The Olare Orok Conservancy has two main prides – the Moniko Pride, who reside near Moniko hill, named after a young man who was killed while spearing a lion – and the Enkoyonai Pride. This morning I found the Enkoyonai Pride in a particularly playful mood, mums and cubs alike!

sunrise One of the Enkoyonai lionesses in the early morning light
The pride had a made a wildebeest kill – not surprising given the huge herds gathering along the N’tiakitiak River. With thousands of wildebeest now residing in the area, the lions have an easy time.

The fact that their bellies were already full of wildebeest didn’t stop three girls of the pride trying to take on a rather large bachelor buffalo who came over for a closer look. Lions are certainly capable of taking down these enormous animals, but this one was more than these three full-bellied lionesses could tackle.

buffalochase1 One of the girls takes on the chase…
buffalochase …but this big bull’s having nothing of it!
The girls have a healthy number of cubs between them, aged around 9 months. They were all very happy to munch on the kill, until one of the lionesses caught a baby gazelle. The fawn wasn’t eaten, but provided an essential lesson for the cubs, who took it in turns to practice their predatory techniques.

cubtommy Not even a mouthful for this young cub, but an important lesson in survival
One cub stood out amongst the rest. At around 4-5 months old, the little cub has no siblings his own age, but plenty of older brothers and sisters around for entertainment. I’ve never seen such a playful cub – he was a joy to watch trying out his moves on the wildebeest carcass and tackling his mum and aunties at any opportunity.

cubs This little one’s not taking trouble from anyone!

I’m impressed to see such a healthy, strong pride in the Olare Orok, and look forward to spending more time with them. Along with the Moniko and Ridge Prides, there’s plenty of lions to keep me busy.