June 6, 2014
Learning to Live with Lions
- as seen by -Marc Napao
Lions in Laikipia are very wary of people – a lasting result of the conflict between cattle owners and these big cats. They have become rivals. The lions are learning to live in the margin as their habitats shrink to make way for the pastoral communities.
In my car, I quietly approach one of our lion prides to take pictures of their whisker spot patterns. These spots are unique to each lion like human fingerprints. Matilda, the most shy of the pride’s females, gives me a growl as she disappears into the thick and thorny acacia bushes. She is worried about her cubs, Tom and Jerry, so she calls them to her side. She picks them up, one by one, and tucks them into the bramble to keep them close.
But they are more interested in me. The curious cubs crawl up a nearby anthill and inch closer to my car.
With a click, I get the picture that will help our team identify them as we watch them grow.