Lions before breakfast

Tue, 2007-07-10 06:58 by hcroze · Forum/category:

Ten lions chasing zebra in front of Cynthia's tent makes an exciting start to the day.

Not the lions in the story, but Amboseli lions nonetheless

The 40-odd zebras that were grazing through the camp all last night wresting what nourishment they could from the drying Cynadon grass) have been milling around, some 200m to the south east. A peripheral flash over my laptop screen is a lioness bursting out of the Phoenix palms to the east, driving the zebras in front of her. She's followed by two other females who make a rather desultory flank to the left. But the zebras spilt, a small group vanishing south, the rest thunder past our tents to the north.

Five cubs now lope out of the palms and join the returning females. The cubs look to be different ages, three smaller ones (maybe 3-4 months old) and two larger, we'd guess 6-7 mo. And now come two more lions. They look like youngish males, one very pale with virtually no mane, an eerie echo of the infamous maneaters of Tsavo [low, sinister music].

Meanwhile, after headrubs, the lions have all plopped down to watch Peter and Joshphat bring us our morning tea. The zebras are braying noisily. Sounds like nervous laughter at the lions, but more likely contact calls between separated family members.

Looks like our breakfast will be heartier than the lions'.

Postscript: Soila later told us about the new Amboseli Lion Project and put us in touch with Hans de Iongh (iongh(at)cml.leidenuniv.nl), from CMS, which naturally translates into the Institute of Environmental Sciences, of the University of Leiden. He and colleagues are implementing the project in cooperation with KWS.

So, we have new colleagues researching in the ecosystem, and I would hope that they would add their info to our Amboseli Biosphere Reserve WikiProject (click here).