Cameraman Richard ‘Marmalade’ Jones arrived a couple of days ago, so it seemed a good time to take a break from nights and try and get some daytime hunting behaviour. Richard’s first assignment was to sit with the two ‘Lazy Girls’ and their three cubs, as they had been living in the same lugga for weeks now and killing only in the heat of the day when animals came to drink.
Then it rained, the Lazy Girls caught a wildebeest at night and it seemed the only thing to do was to go back to nights (3pm to 3am).
Richard’s 1st night was a disappointment. We went to look for the Motorogi group who had been spotted nearby - but they had moved - and we found the Monico* pride youth group who were so fat they couldn’t move. At least this was a good time for Richard to get the hang of working the Starlight camera
Last night we were a bit more adventurous, going to the recently rained on slopes of Rhino Ridge where we found the Western arm of the sprawling Bila Shaka pride (sometimes called the Marsh Pride). It was the usual youth group arrangement, a couple of mums and in this case 6 almost full grown but otherwise useless offspring. They didn’t disappoint. The two mums were setting up a good zebra ambush joined by possibly the stupider of their two daughters - who started a run way too soon. She ran and ran and ran after the only zebra foal in the group. Every zebra within a mile saw this and they all too ran after the escapees. Mum lion was not impressed and seemed in a particularly bad mood.
After dark, they managed to lose us a couple of times, but we found them again just as they had surrounded a hippo.
This was a spectacular battle with the four young males vying to be the bravest (for brave read stupid) by trying to climb on the hippo’s back. After much spinning, running and charging, the hippo ran into a lugga and the lions eventually lost interest.
Well done Richard Jones for getting some unforgettable starlight images, Tom Stephens for finding the lions again and filming some incredible thermal action, and, at the wheel, Stanley ‘Houdini’ Kinyolo for conjuring some very narrow escapes with deep black cotton soil mud.
* Monico pride named after Monico hill where they live, named after a Maasai warrior who went there to kill a lion - but it killed him.