A New Pride?
We continued on our big monitoring and got to the Olare Sampu river and we spotted two young lionesses resting a few hundred yards by the rivers edge.
I was told that these two girls were part of a trio of young lionesses that hailed from the Sampu Enkare Pride and they have left the core part of their family territory and have been spending most of their time along the rivers edge which is the boundary to the neighbouring Ol Kinyei Conservancy.
I was also told that occasionally the three girls have been seen with Esiriwua and Lokoman but since the death of their mother Tikki they have been more and more separate. These were the three girls I mentioned earlier that the Mara Lion Project hoped would once again join their birth pride to boost the number of adult females. Please work the slideshow above to look at more pictures taken.
The paler female was situated about 15 yards to the right of the other and was laid sideways while the female on the right hand side was sat watching us. It was a very peaceful evening and the air had started to cool. We watched the two girls as they washed themselves and rested. Both of the girls looked young and their spots were very easily seen. Their ears were very large, a feature used to cope with the heat on the continent. Both of them were very patient and good natured about us being quite close and did not seem to be bothered by the presence of the vehicle. It was fascinating to see these two starting their life as an independent group away from their birth pride and it wasn't something that I expected to see. Like many people I had read and previously thought that lionesses would stay within their birth pride for life living with their mothers, aunties and other family members but the reality in Naboisho was something a lot more flexible. A lot of the lionesses appeared to be very independent spending a lot of their time separate and even hunting alone. These three girls had been seen in the joining up with Esiriwua and Lokoman every now and then but had not been seen with them since the birth of the five new cubs. Whether or not this will signal the end of tolerance is yet to be seen but these two girls seemed perfectly comfortable living separately and appeared to be doing well. In fact the other female who was probably nearby had been spotted slightly further down the river a few days ago with a carcass, indicating success. No doubt this lioness may be watching us in the bush nearby while we were completely unaware.
Our guide Joseph informed that all these girls were born in December 2014 so would be coming up to three years old and that he had seen them all being mated by the Rekero males. If these girls are pregnant perhaps this could be the birth of a brand new pride? And it is similar story from how the Sampu Enkare Pride began formed by the splitter group Esiriwua and Tikki from the Enesikiria Pride. It will be very interesting to see if this young trio are spotted with Esiriwua and Lokoman again or whether they are set for an independent life starting a pride of their own. One thing that I had learnt so far was how surprising and complex lion society was and how it differed for every single group. The beauty of fission-fusion society is that here in the wild they have the space to join and disperse whenever they need to and that they are not forced to live together they only come together when they need to.
We left these girls chasing the flies as the sun set and darkness was due to come over Naboisho. It will certainly be interesting to see what the future holds for this small group.