I know we speak about our lions a lot, but it really is a privilege to share a workspace with these incredible, iconic big cats. I would like to share an interesting sighting with you.
25 May 2019 – 7:20AM: On a cold early winter morning we had an incredible sighting with 15 of our lions altogether.
Our four adult females, ten cubs and one old dominant male all interacting and attempting to reconnect the splintered pride. The three females each have three cubs, and our oldest female has one cub.
All ten cubs are fathered by our late male who passed away last year in December.
At the time of the sighting, we had two prides of lions on the reserve.
They were previously one pride, however, one female had her three cubs about six months after the other three females, so she ended up separating herself from the group to give her cubs a better chance at survival with regards to competition between the larger cubs at the kill, as well as the risk of the larger cubs severely injuring or possibly even killing the younger cubs while play-fighting, which is an integral part of a growing lion’s life.
I posted a video of the encounter and in the video, the female with the three younger cubs is attempting to re-introduce herself and her three cubs back into the group with little success and much aggression. Here is the link: https://youtu.be/kiDXcwMdvok
There are many interesting facial expressions and displays of body language exhibited in the video. The female and her three younger cubs are the more active individuals during the interaction, but they are met with little acceptance by the other, larger cubs and their mothers.
It is the big female, the one that the male is following in the video, that will not accept them back into the pride. She is also in heat, so, according to her, her motherly duties are over and she is looking to start the process all over again.
Subsequently, the female and her three cubs were never accepted back into the pride.
A few days after this video, this unaccepting female left the pride in order to pursue our two new males that were in our BOMA. Interesting fact: BOMA is actually an acronym and not a Zulu word, as most people think. It actually stands for British Officers Mess Area. It comes from the days of war, where a British Officer couldn’t just sit under a tree to eat his meal, they HAD TO have an enclosed area. They must have been scared of the African bush…