The Ross Breakaway lion cubs have grown to 2 months old, and we love seeing them looking well fed and healthy! They are both male cubs, and they engage in a lot of wobbly wrestling, which is something they will continue to do throughout their lives. Lions have a close social bond, and they use nuzzling and grooming as a signs of affection. Their mother and her sister have stuck together for life and they always lie close to one another, feeding together, and showing a lot of love. A few days ago Africa on Foot and nThambo Tree Camp watched as they experienced another first when the lionesses took down a buffalo calf.
The small family is growing closer, and even the second lioness puts up with the cubs’ playful behaviour. A few weeks ago when one of the cubs almost got trampled by a buffalo and another cub got separated from his mother, the second lioness didn’t seem set on looking after him in the slightest. She growled at him and swatted him with her paw if he got too close, but now it is hard to tell which lioness is the true mother because the cubs move so freely between the two adults.
The small buffalo was the perfect meal for the 2 Ross Breakaway females and they relaxed in the open area with the carcass over a couple of days, drifting in and out of sleep, and slothfully getting up to feed every once in a while. The cubs are not yet eating meat and they nuzzled into their mother’s tummy to feed when she lay down to rest, but that doesn’t mean that they aren’t interested in the great, big, smelly carcass! On a few occasions, the cubs moved gingerly closer to where the lionesses were feeding and curiously checked it out.
We’ve always enjoyed these 2 lionesses at such close range, and their familiarity with the Africa on Foot and nThambo vehicles makes for really fantastic sightings. They have no fear in walking right passed the vehicles in order to get to where they want to go, and they have come to accept us being close to their food, and now to their cubs. We are excited to see the cubs becoming accustomed to us as well! Everything is a new experience for them at this point, and they are developing incredibly cute behaviours and attitudes already.
Watching the cubs dodge proverbial bullets is a reminder of what a tough life they have ahead of them, and even with the protection of the two lionesses, they face danger every day. Hyenas, leopards, and buffaloes are the main threats at this point, but each day they get a little stronger and a little wiser, so we are hoping for the best!