Wildlife: A Lion Bonanza!

18th August 2013
On an all-day safari in the north of the park, we found part of a large pride of lions, known locally as the Mwamba Pride after the river which runs through their territory. It was quite late in the morning, so we decided to leave them to rest, and return when the light was softer and they might be a bit more active. We continued our safari, watched some elephants, had a long picnic lunch and timed our arrival back with the pride for the last hour of sunshine.

As it turned out, we judged it perfectly, getting to the spot just as the month-old cub began to rise from his slumbers and start to stretch, before pestering the adult females for a chance to suckle.

It was very persistent, going from female to female, and being rebuffed regularly by the panting adults. Several more cubs had been born to this pride, but a spat with the neighbouring group had resulted in the death of 2 of the youngest, leaving females with milk to spare. Lions will suckle cubs other than their own since most of the females in a pride are closely related and it's in their genetic interest to do so.

As we watched, one by one the females began to stir, getting up from the thicket where they'd been lying and coming out into the open to bask in the last light of evening.

The cub provided much amusement, climbing all over the females and carrying sticks around in its mouth.

As the light faded, we noted their empty bellies, and left them to an evening of hunting undisturbed by our presence.

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