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Lion Specific Program on GVI Karongwe

By 5 years ago
Categories Limpopo

February 9th kicked off Karongwe’s Lion (Panthera leo) Specific project with two volunteers, Karen and Ash. With a positive attitude and their readiness to help we had them begin a couple of new projects, some which will continue on with the next group of Lion Specific volunteers.

Karen and Ash took daily behavioural notes on the pride and wrote down their interactions and different traits. Coming at a very interesting time in the prides dynamics, they got to see how our sub-adult male is slowly being pushed out more and more by our dominant male, Zero. Zero no longer lets him feed on kills, even if it’s the remaining scraps. We also watched as he also chased Maggie, one of the pride females, from the kill, only allowing the female he was mating with, Lisa, eat the waterbuck. The sighting lasted an hour and a half as Zero continually chased off Maggie and the sub-adult, even though he and Lisa were no longer hungry.  The volunteers did mention it was a little unfair to not let Maggie eat, especially because she and Lisa probably did the hunting themselves!

Karen and Ash have also been working on a vocalization project with the lions. Microphone in hand, they were trying to determine the different vocalizations of each individual, how long they lasted, and the intervals between each vocalization. Though a start-up project that won’t be able to be analysed until we collect some more data, it was great to begin the recordings and collecting the data.
Already the Lion Specific project has given GVI Karongwe a better insight to group dynamics and behaviour. While Zero has not kicked out the sub-adult or fought properly over a female, we can all see it might come soon. At two years and approximately eight months, the sub-adult is at the age where most males leave the pride. It will be interesting to see what the sub-adult does in the coming months and how that will again affect the prides social dynamics. 

We are excited to see where the Lions Specific program will lead us, and we are thrilled to be getting in new volunteers all the time. We always welcome new ideas and enthusiastic minds!