Showing posts from October, 2011

Frogs on my feet and spiders on my face

It is getting HOT in Zim now.At 8.30am today the temperature was already 30C!We’ve not had proper rains for a few weeks now but they should arrive within the next week or so, which will hopefully clear the air and refresh the atmosphere.
I went on my first “Night Encounter” at the weekend, which is basically taking the older lions out for a walk at night time to allow them to hunt some of the game in the park.However, as they are too big for us to walk on foot, they are trained to follow vehicles, which they seem to do surprisingly well.We drove around the park for over 2 hours but the only animals they tried to hunt were one steenbok and a zebra.The steenbok chase was actually pretty good because the lions ran FULL PELT towards this steenbok (I have never seen them run so fast in my life!) and they very nearly caught the steenbok.It even screamed out in distress (poor thing – I would do too if 4 subadult lions were running for their lives after me).It seems like the prey have learned …

And here I go again on my own

Wow can't believe it's been 9 days since I last blogged.  I'm so busy here that time really does fly.  I've not really been doing anything interesting other than working, eating and sleeping.  I had another day off (second one in 6 weeks now) and spent the whole day applying for grants for my PhD, so it ended up not really feeling like I had time off at all.   I have been trying to socialise a bit more with the volunteers here so that I don't feel like such a loner all the time.  Watched a polo-cross game that the Antelope Park staff played, which was quite fun, but they spent a lot of time standing around not doing anything.
Cub drama has still be happening within the pride.  The sole remaining cub from Phyre has been brought into the pride (probably by Athena, the mother of the 8-month old) and was being looked after to some degree, but now it appears that it has been abandoned.
Watching these cubs is like watching a relative die slowly of cancer; painful to watch …

Stressful times in prideland

Had a very stressful time over the last few days here at ALERT.Two of Phyre’s cubs are missing, presumed dead, with only one remaining that we cannot locate.Kenge has probably given birth now too but we have no idea where she is, how many cubs she has, and how many may also have possibly gone the same was as Phyre’s.Athena, the lioness with the eight month-old, has been seen with three baby cubs (not hers), nursing them, carrying them around and letting Wakanaka her cub play with them.However, this means that the fragile little things are away from their mother and not being cared for properly, so their survival is very much compromised.We tried to move Athena and Wakanaka into a management enclosure yesterday to give the new mothers time to sort themselves out, but herding lions is about 100 times harder than herding cats, and this ended up being an epic fail on all accounts.The lions were stressed, we were stressed; it was not a good day.

Today we cannot locate Phyre or Kenge, so don…

Rain and cubs

The rainy season has arrived!Had quite a few intense thunderstorms since being here, which has been quite spectacular to see, especially as it has been months since it has rained properly here.The area really needed some moisture as there were quite a number of fires starting in the park that became quite a scare to us.Fortunately all were kept under control, but there is always that worry that maybe they won’t be able to put it out.
Had some very exciting news recently as one of the pregnant female lionesses went off to den a few days ago and has recently given birth!We accidentally stumbled across the den complete with mother, three cubs and two other lionesses waiting diligently by her side.The cubs looked very healthy and were suckling when we saw them, which was very cute to see.Phyre, the mother, looked proud but tired so we left her after just a few moments as we didn’t want to intrude or scare her.
A giraffe died in the park recently, which was quite handy for the lions as they …