Saturday, June 13, 2009

4 June (Thurs)

Last night the lions wreaked havoc in camp and terrified the majority of the crew. At precisely midnight the 5 lionesses announced their presence with a chorus of roaring, thereby ensuring that everyone in the camp was awake and listening. They then proceeded to pad around, occasionally rustling past a tent or sniffing audibly centimetres from ones head. The 5 sub-adults were not quite as considerate. This was far to good an opportunity to pass up, and while the lionesses were relatively well behaved, the youngsters spent their time investigating what there was to play with. The first thing in their path was the power box for the electric fence, which sits under some solar panels. They spent a few minutes chewing this before deciding to make off with it, in the process ripping all the wiring out the ground and disabling the fence. In so doing, one of them got a shock, which persuaded them all to move on to the next thing. That thing was Graham and Penny’s tent. A loud bang indicated that they had knocked over the water bucket outside the tent after which they broke the perimeter fence around the office, store and living areas. Clearly they were having great fun.

By now Keita was awake and in her fuzzy, 2 year old way, was trying to hum herself back to sleep. Every time she did this she got a sharp elbow in the ribs from either Brad or I. We were both very aware that the curious cubs would investigate this unusual sound. After 3 pokes in the ribs she looked like she was about to cry. Anyone who knows anything about lions knows that a crying baby (of any type) immediately attracts their attention and their predator instinct comes to the fore. We had no urge to pique the curiosity of the lionesses, nor the two large males who were invariably lurking somewhere on the periphery, but thankfully she fell asleep (with a pillow over her face) without creating a scene.

After a while, loud roaring by the males indicated that they were moving off northwards, much to everyone’s relief. Finally everyone was able to settle down and get some sleep.


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