Break out the cigars, there has been a birth at Phinda!
We’ve been closely monitoring the lions of Mountain pride in order to gather data for a lion researcher who is coming to visit. So we knew one of the 2 adult females was pregnant. We also learned that the yearling cubs like to climb trees.
Then one day nobody could find the pride. The rangers and our team spent 2 days trying to find them. Finally one morning tracks were found leading up a hillside. We drove to the other side of the hill to see if tracks came back down, leaving a ranger and tracker on foot to follow the tracks up.
We couldn’t find tracks leading down, so we went back to see how the other group got on. We met them back at their vehicle and noticed they looked rather flushed and sweaty. Turns out they found a lioness in the rocks at the top of the hill. She “revved” them, i.e. rumbled at them in a very clear “get the heck out of here” way, so they beat a quick retreat. This is her sister but still, imagine getting “revved” by this:
She has split off from the rest of the pride, which is typical when a lioness gives birth. So between that and her aggressive reaction, the theory is she is denning in the rocks at the top of the hill, and gave birth sometime in the last 2 days. She’ll keep the cubs in the den for a month. The area will be off limits to all humans until she brings the cubs out. Exciting news!