While we were visiting Antelope Park we had the unexpected privilege to spend time with Disa, Dala, and Dingane - three chubby little bundles of fluff that were still wobbly on their feet and could barely squeak out their little eowwws.
Tag Archives: lions
Some video of our morning walk with Paza + Penya.
5:15am my watch keeps telling me. I throw back the covers and tiptoe out onto the cold deck of our river tent. We're slated for an early morning walk with Paza and Penya. It's been a year and we're both anxious and excited to see how these two lovely ladies have grown in our absence.
As much fun as the BPG crowd are, it's the single male lion inhabiting a nearby enclosure that remains the focus of our attention at most times - for in that enclosure is Dynamite.
Our first outing with the 2MZeds was a training walk to learn how to safely interact with the lions. It was just a bit ironic that it immediately followed our walk with Dendi and Damara, where we witnessed a heart pounding standoff between the 2Ds and a herd of buffalo, and were ordered to run as fast as our legs could move us.
Prior to our arrival at Lion Encounter we heard tales of volunteers on lion walks running for their lives from herds of buffalo and elephants, sometimes climbing trees for safety. While this sounded very exciting, and not just a little scary, I tried to recall the last time I'd climbed a tree. When my memory drew a blank I realized I'm not sure I ever have climbed a tree, and I tried to assure myself that if I were to find myself in a similar situation adrenaline would see me through.
About 10 kilometers west of Livingstone, nestled in the Mosi-oa-Tunya National Forest, lies ALERT's headquarters in Zambia. It's here on our first day at Lion Encounter that we took our first walk with Zamfara and Zaria along the banks of the Zambezi river.
Rubbing my eyes and trying to will myself awake while the line slowly creeps forward I look across the people gathered with us in the terminal. That's when I notice the hunting rifle cases. It suddenly dawns on me that we’re about to board a flight on our way to Africa to once again volunteer in the name of lion conservation, alongside a group of men who will be traveling there in the hopes of shooting a lion, if not several.
You either get the point of Africa or you don't. If you can't get past the fear of animals, of poverty, the juggernaut of nature, then you probably won't. But if you do stand in it and smell it and listen to it, then it will be one of the biggest, most profound and powerful things you will ever feel.
The second time I met Kirsty was during our first encounter with the Ngamo Pride. In the back of a Land Rover watching this very unique group of lions go about their daily routine, I spent as much time watching Milo and Co. as I did paying attention to Kirsty – how effortlessly she recognized each lion, her understanding of each lion’s place in the pride’s hierarchy, her unbridled giddiness at being witness to a long and luxurious grooming session between several of the lionesses, and the way she notated every behavior of each lion in detail. Meticulous detail. It was obvious Kirsty was in her element out in the Ngamo release site, and it felt like having pitch side seats at a cup final.