CANCEL
 

New lions at Xigera

 
 

Mike discusses documenting the new lion cubs in Xigera, as well as interesting observations on family dynamics of the pack.

 

17th January 2020

Xigera Safari Lodge

One of the things that excites us most as guides, is when we document new lions in our area. Early this morning, I heard a lioness calling on the floodplain, just north of the Lodge. I was just waking up as it happened, so Lesh and I drove out to the area to look for her. Xigera is like a park at the moment with short lush green grass in the areas where there were fires last year. 

We could not find tracks and they did not roar again to help us. We continued searching carefully and slowly to make certain we did not miss anything. Just then I noticed two red lechwe tense up and look in one direction with a fixed stare – a sure sign they had seen something. I told Lesh and he was already looking in the right direction and saw a lion approaching.

In all, we found four of them who were all young. Two young males we had seen a few days earlier, in the evening and another young male aged about two and half years and a young female. 

We then had a great sighting of the lone older male asserting his dominance over the two younger ones; there was a lot of growling and slapping but no lion was hurt. The two younger males decided to go and find some shade and the other two moved off in a different direction for the day.

Lions play fighting

Lions play fighting

That evening, we went out to look for them again and found the young female on top of a termite mound with the young male lying just below. The other two males were a short distance away in the shade of a date palm. With all of them still sleeping, we set off to watch the sunset and returned as it was becoming dark.

When we returned, the two younger males were out in the open lying down and then a little while later, the young female came to join them. All of them are quite relaxed around the game drive vehicle which shows me that they have traveled from other concession areas close by. 

Things became interesting when the older lone male came over to join them. At first, there was a greeting ritual with all of them rubbing faces and then the lone male started the disciplinary action again. It was quite a sight. Fortunately, in the low light, Marian was able to take video on her iPhone.

As we left them to drive home, Lesh told me that it will be interesting to see what happens when our two resident big males find them in their territory – it will indeed!

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