Elephant Disturbs Some Sleeping Lions
After our great Wild Dog sighting the other morning we headed to Pelican Lagoon to follow up on the Mwamba-Kaingo Pride who had been seen eating a small buffalo in that area the night before. A cold front that had pulled in from South Africa had left the morning chillier than usual so movement of cats would carry-on further into the day, making for good game viewing.
Lion tend to move when it is cooler, as they do not have sweat glands, and do not want to over heat their brains. There is an assumption that lions only move at night. Lions are very much like humans in the fact that they have individual tastes and preferences. Yes, lions see at night and their prey for the most part cannot and it is cooler, thus much of their movements are during this time. However, lions will take opportunities when presented whether in the heat of midday or at midnight. The Mwamba-Kaingo Pride love buffalo, so by positioning themselves in the shade, near one of the few water sources, they are given the opportunity to hunt at any point that is optimal. Where we were headed we were hoping to not only locate the pride but hopefully get them moving, although their somewhat full bellies might mean they would be lounging rather than moving.
We found the pride at the lagoon itself, lazy for the most part, with no buffalo in sight. The sub-adults, kept busy by the antics of impala on the opposite bank, were the only ones giving us any movement for photos and video. The shade of the Tamarind Tree on the edge of the lagoon allowed for the lions to remain somewhat hidden as depth-perception is limited when looking from the bright light towards shaded bits. As we watched them watching the impala a herd of elephants made their way towards the mud and water for a drink and a bath. The matriarch led the majority of the herd around the lions, stopping briefly to watch from her peripheries. The second in command, a tusk-less pregnant cow, decided the presence of thirteen lions was too much and proceeded to advance, ears spread.
Lions and elephants do not get on, so the large female elephant making her way to chase the pride off was too much for adult and youngsters. Much to our delight they got up in unison and made their way towards of vehicle. The elephant stopped as the lions moved giving opportunity for photographs and video with both species in context. The adult lioness then headed off towards another bit of shade under a Woolly Caper Bush while the one present male and most of the sub adults laid near our vehicles rubbing each other and keeping a watchful eye on the herd of elephants…