Our lion sightings in the Kwatale Concession appear to be snowballing, and our tawny beasts are no longer wanting to remain hidden in the dense shrubbery surrounding Tuskers Bush Camp. Their behaviour is so brazen at the moment that they feel no shame in mating right out in the open, in front of the game viewer. We promised another lion follow-up and now we’re delivering on that promise. Leading photographer Daniel Dugmore managed to capture some rather intimate big cat moments through his lens. Before we regale you with stories from Dan’s Botswana lion expeditions, let’s delve into the history of these lions.
This is what we’ve discovered :
1. A large male lion was photographed on our secret camera trap over a period of a couple months. There is confirmation that we have four lions in the immediate area and one large, dominant male. The large male appeared to be rather fond of tent 3 and plenty of tracks were noticed in and around camp. We introduced you to a few of the Kwatale Concession lions in August last year – two males, two females and a powerful male. They seem to be the local and dominant pride of the immediate area.
Feeling lost? Read our Meet the Lions of Tuskers Bush Camp blog post.
2. Two months ago, Dan and guests spotted two males and two females at the pan in front of camp. One lioness appears to be quite a bit older than the rest – at least 4/5 years old and there’s speculation that she is the mother of at least two of the lions . Shortly after the sighting, Dan spotted three of the lions hiding in the thickets. They seemed quite skittish so it was tricky.
Want to keep in the loop with the lion sightings ? Read our Tuskers Bush Camp : Piecing Together the Lion Puzzle blog post.
3. During the course of last week, a burly male was seen mating with a lioness. We can safely assume it’s the well-built strapping male seen towards the end of last year that favours the winding paths between the tents at Tuskers. The romantic couple were mating in the open and took a well-deserved break on the banks of the pan.
Lions will mate consecutively for days on end, averaging at four days, but can mate for up to 7 days. Lions are known to mate for up to six times in an hour. That amount of mating over four days can leave our Panthera leo species rather exhausted ! They mating pair will normally split from the pride to find a place of solitude and remain in close vicinity until the “ritual” is over. There are occasions when a coalition of two will take turns with the lioness to relieve one another of their copulating duties. Hopefully the lions will be located close to the area where we saw them last.
The actual act of mating is quick, ruthless and quite uncomfortable to watch. There’s no pomp and ceremony, delightful mating dances and attractive romantic displays. Lions simply “go in for the kill”! A male lion has a barbed penis and when it retracts the barbs are incredibly painful for the lioness. The lioness generally yelp/growls in pain and snaps at its suitor.
Let’s hope the lions are still mating when we head out on drive this week.