Last week I featured the migration of the Wildebeest and their tragedies on the Serengeti. During our 6:00am intimate breakfast by the lake, we didn’t have a clue as to what we were to witness next.
8am – Lion in Wait
By 8:00am, reluctantly, we move beyond the lake onto the almost treeless vast plains of the Southern Serengeti. Hundreds of zebra and thousands of wildebeest traverse the plains, babies in tow. Some are able to keep up, many are not, and succumb to the pressures of the journey, vultures, jackals all awaiting their fate.
We spot a lioness in the distance….Though not clear from our position, we believe she may be stalking her prey. We can’t see the prey, but it is clear she has spotted something or already caught something. We move towards her. We spot 4 other vehicles, and realize, they have found the den of the rest of the pride of five lions, three cubs, two females, all with full protruding bellies.
Their kill is hidden in the Marsh area. The other vehicles move and we decide to stay and spend some time with them. We can only see horns, so we know they have taken down a wildebeest, though we don’t know if it’s young or old. With two females, there is a good chance it could be a fully grown female. It is survival of the fittest out here on the Serengeti, everyone must seek out and hunt their own food, this is no zoo, no one brings it to them.
This is one of about 15 lion sightings we have seen, but the first with young cubs. There are no males in this group. But there’s also a good chance that the male has eaten and gone. There is a hierarchy in the lion world when it comes to eating. Males eat first, then the females and then the cubs. Males do not tolerate females trying to hone in on the goods, until he has had his fill. Otherwise, there could be a catfight, and the female won’t win it, not this time.
Because the lions are so full, we know they won’t be moving anytime soon. The plains are so full of food, they don’t have to lie in wait. Food will come to them. Lions sleep 20 hours a day and when they’re not sleeping, they are mating or hunting. Often when you drive upon a pride of lions, you’ll find them sleeping, unperturbed by the hum of a vehicle motor or the inhabitants of the vehicle. Stay tuned for the more active lions along the way.