Panthera leo

I have been at Antelope Park for a week now, although it seems like so much longer!  I've been going out on research drives three times a day and am starting to learn the IDs of the 9 lions (although it is taking me a while, especially the females that have twins!).  The lions haven't been doing a great deal because it is getting warm earlier now so for the most part they sleep - although I do know that they are meant to be inactive between 20-22 hours per day!  We have entered the research site once at night time and it was amazing to see the difference in their behaviour during the dark.  The lions are far more active, bold and even look larger in the moonlight.  At one point all the females surrounded the vehicle and were within a metre of it, and I'm sure they knew that there were people inside.  Thank god they didn't decide to jump in, because the cage on the back of the vehicle where I stand has a large enough hole in it for them to get inside!  It's not on my agenda here to get eaten by a lion!

We have had a number of guests come to visit the research site with us, which is good to spread the word about what ALERT does and to make people realise that it isn't just a tourist venture here to walk lions with humans, but that it is a conservation organisation to release lions back into the wild.  I think everyone enjoyed their time, which is good.  We also have a photographer and a film maker with us this week, both trying to capture interesting behaviour from the pride.  However, as the lions don't really do much for most of the day, they have predominantly been getting shots of lions sleeping!  Here's hoping we can get in there more at night when they really come alive.

A giraffe walked into camp today and was feeding from the trees next to the horse stables.  I got within a few metres of it to take a photo, which was pretty cool!  We also saw a maribu stork, some eagles, vultures, kudu, mongoose, frogs and scrub hares too, so it looks as if more wildlife is making itself known the longer I stay here, which is good!  I often see the beautiful lilac breasted rollers in the morning drives and can't get over how pretty they are.  The bird migration should be starting soon, so hopefully we will be getting even more diverse wildlife shortly.

It seems like the chefs are finally beginning to pick up my apparently odd eating habits.  Thankfully they are now including one source of protein in almost all my meals - thank god, as I was really starting to get ill from lack of energy!  I am now running low on the museli I brought over so if anyone wants to send me a care package with high-energy museli in it, feel free!!

I think I may have rubbed some of the staff up the wrong way since being here, as I do like to play devil's advocate and make people appreciate that there is always more than one side of every situation.  After all, the saying goes that there are three sides to every story:  one person's opinion, the other person's opinion, and the truth.  I hear a lot of negative talk here about other projects and people, which is starting to wear thin, and I like to make people appreciate that what you may think of someone or something might not be the whole truth, and maybe we should take a step back before we judge so quickly, especially if that judgement makes someone or something seem in bad light.   Negativity breeds negativity and I don't like working in a place where everyone jumps to the worst conclusion about everyone else.  I do hope that this atmosphere will improve soon.

As we keep getting almost daily powercuts and internet disconnections here daily, I am not sure how often I will be able to post here, but will try to make it as frequent as I can.

Here's a photo of our alpha lion Milo to end this blog with.


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