One just gets those days where everything just goes right, and you see absolutely wonderful things. Well I had one of those morning drives, when straight off the access road by the airstrip, we started our journey with 4 spotted hyena; all together, discussing the evening’s events and what they got up to, what they ate and who they encountered? One of the females looked heavily pregnant, which would be great for us if we can find their den site, because it is always something special watching the fluffy, black cubs running around.
So a good start already, and our destination is Lake Manze from there, well what none of us knew was that we would have just too much happening close to camp, that on this morning drive we wouldn’t make it to Lake Manze, for as we approached the WW1 battlefields; a lioness, staring up at the hill to her and our right. But once we had lifted the binoculars to our eyes, we noticed that she wasn’t in the best of shapes, actually she was batted and wounded.
She had definitely been in a confrontation, and judging by the war wounds, by other lions. The wounds were very fresh, so the culprits were definitely around, but no sign of them. We watched as she battled to sit or even lay down, but eventually slowly lowered herself to take a break.
We decided that we would leave her in peace to recover and carry on with our morning adventure, but just as I had turned the vehicle around and was about to leave, on the hill a male lions head was peering down, staring at us and at the lioness. He was one of the lions responsible for attacking the female and for her injuries. And as we changed our position to get a better view, another two lions revealed themselves, a very big lioness and another male.
These three being three new individuals I hadn’t yet seen, the males both had beautiful manes, unusual for the Selous as most adult males have an excuse for a mane.
All their eyes intently watching the battered female.
Lions are highly territorial animals, and in general just don’t like competition from any predator, including themselves. These three have entered our area around camp, and were already staking their claim, and more than likely the big culprit for attacking the female, was the large female we were watching, as the females don’t like other females, as in the case with males who defend their territory often to the death from other males, females defend their area from other rival females. Although the males of a pride never complain about a new female joining their pride, the females definitely don’t like new females who are receiving attention from their pride male.
The injured female eventually got up and slunk off, but she seemed to be walking comfortably, considering her wounds. The older male, got up first and started to follow, but urine marking as he went, his jealous female companion close behind, making sure that she was still his focus point, and not this other female. Eventually the two came to rest amongst some Doum Palms, and below a beautiful Leadwood, where the other male followed them to. He seemed to have got a bit of an injury from the confrontation and was hobbling a little.
So before we knew it, we had spent most of the morning, just watching and observing these lions.
What a great morning, once again in the Selous.