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This lioness was probably one of the group who checked out Mushroom Lodge last week, looking for a meal. The pride has 18 females and three males (brothers) who are currently jousting for leadership.

My understanding is that this pride is a splinter group, originally part of a massive pride in the north of the park, 36 strong. They hunted en masse and their preferred food was buffalo. Ian Friend witnessed this pride take down three buffalo in one attack. The buffalo herd decided to retaliate and stampeded back to help their fallen colleagues. The lions just attacked them again, taking down another four buffalo, and the herd scattered in disarray. These lions are scarred and battle-hardened.

The splinter group had a lean time in the south. Attacking nimble antelopes saps your energy and once a kill has been made, it doesn’t feed all the pride. So they left me and Mushroom Lodge, moving 10 miles north-east to Luangwa Wafwa. Buffalo herds are coming down to the plains to drink as their water sources in the hills are drying up. I heard from Bryan, the senior guide at Mushroom Lodge, that the pride has killed at least three buffalo in the past few days. They are satisfied and will probably be getting round to producing cubs soon.

Meanwhile, another well-known small pride in the south of the park, nicknamed the “Hollywood” pride, are not such serious hunters. There are only seven of them, and they are happy to kill an impala or puku when the opportunity presents itself. That allows them plenty of time to preen themselves for the tourist cameras. And they are less likely to be hurt or scarred when they make a kill. I wonder if that is why a group of lions is called a “pride”?

By Dr Alfred Prunesquallor

Maverick doctor with 40 years experience, I reduced my NHS commitment in 2013. I am now enjoying being free lance, working where I am needed overseas. Now I am working in the UK helping with the current coronavirus pandemic.


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