The Nduna Pride have been keeping a very special secret. These two gorgeous little cubs, no older than 8 weeks, are their newest additions. They increase the pride to 10 members.
On a beautiful May afternoon we went to one of my favourite areas, Lojaan Dam, to look for the Nduna Pride, as part of the lion census project we are busy working on. We found them but a couple of individuals were missing, so we carried on looking for the others, without much success. The sun had just set so we started making our way back but then spotted one of the lionesses. With great interest we noticed she was lactating. Then she started to call again and again, and we knew we needed to be quiet and patient. Our adrenalin and excitement was off the charts. The adults converged on the road, very relaxed, and sure enough, not even five minutes after she started calling, the cubs came scampering along through the undergrowth to join their mom. They played about in an adorable and brave way, in the headlights of the vehicle. At one point one of the pride’s young lionesses came to investigate them and gave them a few paw taps just to let them know who’s who!
We are so thrilled with these new cubs and will be checking on them regularly, especially as their den is about 500 metres from Lojaan Dam and the road network.
A census and photo identification library is being formulated, using whisker pattern identification and any other unique features such as scars and natural ear notches. During this time of no tourism, due to the world’s Covid-19 crisis, the Singita Pamushana guides are able to help significantly with this research project. The information gathered will contribute to the African Lion Database whilst also providing the foundation to accurately monitor individuals and the population’s overall effect of prey and competitor species within the reserve.
Worldwide lion populations have decreased by half over the past 25 years. Habitat loss and fragmentation, illegal wildlife trade and human/lion conflict all continue to threaten this majestic species.
One of the healthy 8-week-old Nduna Pride cubs.
The cubs were confident and brave in the presence of their nearby mother.
They scamper up to one of their ‘aunts’ who looks on, bemused.