After an initial rocky start in 2006 and 20o7 at the beginning of the Conservancy, four lionesses from a persecuted, cattle rustling pride found refuge on the Western boundary of the Conservancy. These girls were soon joined by two large males who took over the pride as theirs. By 2008 the pride had had ten cubs during the migration season and a time of plenty, but hit hard times shortly after the herds of Wildebeest and Zebra moved south.
There was a month when we thought that we would lose all the cubs to starvation as they were looking very thin and forlorn. There were calls from visitors to feed the pride, however, as there was still prey in the area and their lean condition appeared to be due to poor parenting the management let nature take its course whilst keeping a close eye on their plight. The cruel-to-be-kind approach worked as the females of the pride driven by hunger started to hunt. Over the next few lean months they only lost two of the eight cubs, a better than average cub survival rate. In the following years we have never had a repeat performance as this pride appear to have learnt the lesson that food only lands in your lap during the annual Wildebeest migration and you have to work for dinner the rest of the year.
Today having raised several litters of cubs to maturity and restocked the surrounding areas with offshoots of the pride, the core members are now 18 strong and a second formidable force in the Conservancy. They have pushed into the Moniko pride territory and are now quite comfortable occupying the Western half of the Conservancy. In 2011 they expanded their sphere of influence up to the Motorogi spring where they discovered the larder was better stocked during the March to June lean period. This has put pressure on the smaller Lokuro pride who are now squeezed towards the Conservancies’ Northern boundary by these heavyweights.