While we were visiting Antelope Park we had the unexpected privilege to spend time with the Ds – three(*) chubby little bundles of fluff that were still wobbly on their feet and could barely squeak out their little eowwws. The Ds were born on July 17 to lioness Soriah – eight weeks previous to our visit – on the grounds at Antelope Park. Dingane was the affectionate explorer, prone to laziness; his sister Dala full of mischief; and Disa was playful and liked to cautiously follow her brother’s exploratory footsteps. They were so small that we found ourselves petting them like house cats. It’s hard to imagine that they will grow up to be one of the most feared predators in the bush, except for the fact they were already practicing ankle-tapping – a necessary skill used to trip up their prey, even at such a young age. There will be time enough to hone their hunting skills; after all, they were just babies and most of their time was spent playing, plucking up courage to explore their surroundings, drinking milk from a bottle (which would inevitably end up all over their sweet, furry faces), getting tuckered out from all the activity and piling on top of each other for a nap. They just might have been the cutest things we’ve ever seen.
*After we returned to the US, we were saddened to learn that Disa passed away on October 19 from complications due to a liver infection and an enlarged kidney. Rest in peace, little one; and know that you were much loved by everyone who had the honor to be in your presence.