Lions in Spring

The story of Naboisho Camp’s lions begins long before this Spring when these mating videos were taken. Camp Naboisho’s managers, Andrea and Richard, told us the story of the great lioness, Dada, while we listened with rapt attention to a first-hand account of the tumultuous lion kingdom in Kenya’s Naboisho Mara Conservancy. Camp Naboisho hosts eight luxury tent cabins in the middle of a wildlife refuge teeming with lions, elephants, cheetahs, and the proverbial zebra, wildebeest, giraffes, gazelles, impalas and more.

 

Back to lion tales. After kicking out her daughters when they reached a certain age, Dada and her granddaughters ruled the lion population around camp for years. There had been many a scuffle between Dada, the thirteen-year-old grand mistress of Naboisho, and the five Minoka ladies, but none so fierce as the decisive battle we learned about.

First, some background. A few years before the decisive battle, a family of four handsome male lions named the Rekero Brothers came to the area. Grandsons of Great Notch, the strongest, fiercest lion ever to be known in Naboisho, the Rekero brothers take after their grandfather. To stake their claim, Notch’s grandsons killed off all of the cubs in Dada’s pride. They started to mate with Dada’s granddaughters. In their frenzy to take no prisoners, the Rekero Brothers mistakenly killed a few of their own cubs. The lion population was in disarray when the envious Minoka ladies saw an opportunity to take over the pride, Dada’s granddaughters too young to fight.

Richard and Andrea point to locations by various tent cabins (ours wasn’t one of them) where the five lionesses took down Dada in four separate attacks. The final blow broke Dada’s back as she crawled away to die, her granddaughters fleeing the area never to be seen in camp again.

Nowadays, the Rekero Brothers and the Minoka ladies rule the land around Camp Naboisho, mating at will with no concern for safety as these videos demonstrate. Lions mate for 3 or more days in a row, twenty-four hours a day, every ten to fifteen minutes. Yes, you read it right. That’s about TWO HUNDRED EIGHTY-EIGHT times without eating or stopping for so much as a sneeze. If the lioness happens to mate with one of the brothers during this time, it’s okay because it’s all in the family. So, after probably too much background here is a video of the largest Rekero brother mating with the more masculine looking of the Minoka females.

Second time around ten minutes later.

In between mating sessions, they walk around then flop on the ground and rest, then walk around some more.

A word to the wise,  a mating male lion can get a little testy if you follow him around too much and distract his woman. This Rekero boy sure told us off.

To lighten things and make sure you don’t think I’m a total pervert (I really was just along for the ride and happened to have my camera ready), here are some fun videos cubs and cheetahs at play.

 

Next up – I’m not sure, there are so many more topics!!! Maybe the great migration? Or, lions hunting? We saw the elusive black rhino today – what a crazy experience that chase scene was. The title of that blog will be “When it comes to rhino hunting, it’s every person for herself”.

 

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