Real Lions Part 3

Aug 20, 2008 | Categories: Lions, Westgate Conservancy | 8 Comments

I spent a few days in Samburu and Buffalo Springs between the 7th and 10th of August monitoring the resident lions and checking up on Nashipai, Nabo, her cubs and the others. It was a good few days and I also found some new lions near Ngare Mara.

I returned to Echo Lima camp in the evening of the 10th and received a message from the manager of the nearby lodge that their driver guide had seen 4 lions that evening in the Conservation Area! But the lions were nervous and kept hiding so he did not get a good look at them. I was excited by this sighting and decided to leave early the following morning to see if I could find them; hoping they hadn’t moved away.

I left camp at 5 30 am and entered the Conservation Area. I followed the main road all the way along the river but did not see anything. We saw the previous nights tracks of where the lions had been sighted. I continued to the end of the Conservation Area and turned back thinking these lions had left the area.

As I came round a corner, I bumped into a lion! He was sitting on the road and at the same time another lion who had been sitting there with him stood up and disappeared. Gypsy is a very quiet car and I think I surprised the lions as much as they surprised me. This male was huge and almost looked like a female as he had no mane. He watched me keenly and we didn’t move a muscle as I really did not want him to run away.

Eventually he stood up, walked off and joined the other lion who I noticed was sitting and hiding in some bushes. They sat together as I tried to take some photos. I tried drawing their whisker spots but the second male was nervous and wary of my movements. They got up and walked off and I then realized that about 20 metres away, another male had been watching me. This was a coalition of 3 males! The big one who seemed a bit more relaxed then the other 2 sat down on the road again however the other 2 kept their distance and watched me through the bushes. The males then wandered off and disappeared in the thick Salvadora.

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The big male

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The two nervous lions keeping a watchful eye

This was amazing. I had finally had my first proper sighting of these community area lions. I then realized that I had actually seen 2 of them before on the elephant carcass and was sure that it was the same 2; the big male and the smaller male who was beginning to grow a mane. I saw female tracks on the 12th and 13th of August and this lioness may have been the 4th lion that the lodge driver had seen. I also saw a lot of livestock across the river and also some on this side. We went to speak to the herders to inform them of the lions presence and they were grateful for the information and advice and quickly moved off away from the thick bushes.

A bit of information on male coalitions; they are formed after males from the same litter stay together after leaving their pride. They operate as a team whilst they are competing for a territory. Male coalitions also have a reproductive advantage with pride females and this often forces unrelated males to join together.

So I hope there will be many more “Real Lions” blogs because that would mean I have seen many more lions out here in West Gate!

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8 People have left comments on this post



» Paula said: { Aug 20, 2008 - 11:08:01 }

Hi Shivani, you keep talkinga bout camp echo lima – can you tel us more about this camp and camp life? Who are your work colleagues etc….

» sauwah said: { Aug 21, 2008 - 12:08:41 }

good news indeed. the maneless male, can he be related to those in the tsavo area? or he is just a subadult who is not ready to grow a mane. let’s hope these boys and the new lionesses stay away from all livestock and all livestock will not drive away the lions’ prey.

{ Oct 3, 2008 - 05:10:56 } Ewaso Lions » Mystery Solved