Monthly Archives: May 2008

Hurroar for mating lions: Video

5th day and still going strong? Although I think Manyari’s had enough of it but her hormones won’t let her stop AND of course nor will Sjambok.

Always there
Sjambok’s brother left the couple and we heard him moving east roaring his progress.
Manyari was moving south with her dude hot on her tail. She was keen on a herd of wildebeest and made some serious moves to stalk closer before both lions charged in after the herd.
We lost them in the commotion and finding them a couple of minutes later some 300 or 400m north they were back to duty, mating.

Night light
And that turned out to be their exercise for the night, well besides the little effort required several times an hour for some self inflicted pleasure.

Shagged out
Then we heard the buffalo coming. A huge herd was on the stampede from the east. I think Sjambok’s brother might have had something to do with this.
The herd came on to Banyini to drink and then move on west. But they just kept coming. It was a big herd of probably 500 buffalo.
Sjambok showed no interest in the buffalo and Manyari showed a limited amount of interest. But neither could muster the energy to make a move on them.
A short while later the other male was calling close by but he never joined the happy couple.
Only at dawn did he come running in and both male lions rolled on their bellies in a submissive pose, so diffusing a potentially violent encounter.

Early morning I took to the skies really keen to get some photos of this big buffalo herd, but do you think I could find them? I can only think they must have carried on west onto the neighbouring property.

Zebra at Hwata
Just before coming in to land, I did a fly-by for the lions, which they totally ignored as they lay there sprawled out looking like a bunch of dead cats on the open savannah soaking up the African sun.

Not dead yet!

Lion can only sniff the action: Video

And so they go on mating.

Going for Gold
Sjambok’s brother joined them later in the evening looking pretty well fed, but again had to wait in the wings dreaming about getting his chance to mate again.

Happy Cats
I was just remembering the leopard “Beauty” I’d filmed in the film “Beauty and the Beasts” and she went through 8 oestrus cycles before conceiving.
So who knows how long we’ll be waiting for Manyari to conceive. Although you’d think that mating at the tempo they do, they couldn’t do anything but conceive!

The lions again didn’t move far all night and I left them soon after dawn all splayed out on Banyini.

Fat Cat!
I took to the skies on another mission looking for wild dogs. Alas none.

Different stripes
The conditions were very hazy up there with the temperature inversion layer keeping in the smoke from bush fires and keeping visibility down.

Special tree
General game was plentiful around Hwata pan and the Mahande River and this tree was obviously good stuff with these 4 giraffe concentrated around it.

Lions living the good life: Video

Still very much in her rather mixed up state Manyari and her male spent the night in the Acacia woodland along the Chiredzi River, mating and roaring all night.
The cover is so thick in there I wasn’t able to film anything.

Knowing it would be a night of lions doing their thing, Darryl headed off in search of other activity. He found the elephant herds drinking at Banyini but otherwise all was pretty quiet.

Next trick
SJAMBOK, is the name of the lion with Manyari at the moment. He’s the male that’s spent most of his time mating with her and possibly slightly bigger than his brother.

‘Sjambok’ is a South African name for a traditional heavy short whip usually made from hippo hide. So why call Sjambok, sjambok? Because his tail hangs loose and sloppy like a sjambok. Usually lion’s tails hang firmly and with a distinct curl upwards in the bottom third. But Sjambok’s hangs loosely, and is especially floppy when he walks.
Sjambok’s brother (still not named) came by in the evening but didn’t stay long and moved on.
At dawn Manyari and Sjambok headed north and then east across the Binya road. At least she now seemed to have a bit of direction in her and wasn’t wandering aimlessly as she had been for most of the night.
Ahead of them the lions noticed a jackal trotting away, but suddenly the 2 of them took off in the opposite direction. They chased a leopard off the remains of an impala kill. Another free meal for the thieving king of beasts.

Under control
And of course squabble over this they did with Manyari only getting a few scraps.
Continuing on east (of course only after another mating session) suddenly they dropped out of their romantic mode and into hunting mode. A family of warthog had mistakingly made an appearance and weren’t taking heed of the alarm calls from the impala.

Making cubs
Manyari gave chase in one direction and Sjambok in another. I lost them in the mopanie woodland and was sure they’d missed as warthogs have a deafening scream when caught.
I did eventually find the lions and Manyari had herself a young warthog kill. She was feeding on her own, the male not daring to come too close, and so he lost out. (with a small kill like that she’s able to keep it from him and feed in peace.)

Bushveld pork
I left them to it and ventured on to Banyini where I was surprised to find this elephant bull in the early morning drinking here. He was quite a character and didn’t mind me approaching to take photographs. But as soon as I backed away to leave he chased me. I stopped, he trumpeted loudly and shook his head. I approached him. He backed off, backed off and backed off until he was in the pan. Then as I turned to leave he again came charging and trumpeting. Again I stopped and he stopped. Again he backed off as I advanced. And again he charged as I tried to leave.

Splash time
There is no doubt he was just playing with me. Eventually I drove off with him charging but soon giving up.

Hormones rule lions: Video

So there you have it. I leave the lions for one night and they’re back at it.

Worldwide exposure
Manyari and the 2 males were sleeping when I joined them at dusk. When they did eventually awake I couldn’t believe Manyari was at it again, mating.

Back at it!
Surely after having mated with both males for 2 weeks she must have conceived?
Obviously not, unless Manyari’s just going for pleasure. Although she didn’t too happy about life in general last night.

Up until about midnight she would mate and go straight back to sleep. But then it seemed her hormones were attacking her brain. She became very restless and kept wandering around in circles and moving to and fro, of course the male kept trailing her while his brother waited in the wings as usual. Every now and then they’d have their little power display, both rolling on their backs up against each other.

Manyari wasn’t feeling tops as the hormones ravaged her body and mind, and definitely not feeling like the queen of beasts. Whereas the male was getting all he wanted and really feeling like a man, like the King of Beasts! (it’s just a feeling though. I’m not convinced lions are the king of beasts)
Eventually the one male left and headed north east calling as he went.

Acacia tortilis woodland
Manyari and her mate moved west towards the Chiredzi River before resting up in the Acacia tortilis woodland, but still carried on mating into the day.

The Cold Roar: Video

I was exhausted yesterday and with the lions all well fed I bargained it would be a good night to take a rest. And rest I did!
I was out again at dawn flying in search of the lions. They hadn’t moved much further north from where I’d left them yesterday.
We’ll be back on their trail this evening.

Banyini pan
A little detour around Banyini on my way home and the usual plains game were at the water.
Now how cool is that to just pop around the corner and see a bunch of animals before heading home? I’m one seriously lucky dude.

Just plain

Lions roaring activity: Video

As expected the lions didn’t get up to much last night.
They expended all their energies on roaring through the night. Probably calling the other male who by dawn had still not joined them.
We did hear him calling from the area of their waterbuck kill, which he was probably finishing off the scraps of.

Misty dawn
At dawn we went flying looking for wild dogs and hoping to pick up a signal on the leopard to the north. Neither was forthcoming.
I flew back south to check on the lions and found they’d moved all the way back south in the area of the waterbuck. I wonder if they headed down that way to meet up with the other male? Will check on them again tonight.

Elephant shadows
The rest of our flight turned up some elephant bulls feeding close to the Chiredzi River and the herd of buffalo I had on Banyini yesterday morning. They were to the east thereof.

Moving out
AND somehow I landed with a puncture. Not that it was a problem with the landing but just another little hassle to attend to.