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The lowdown on our lion cubs

By Samara on May 2, 2020
When we found out last year that our lioness Sikelele was pregnant, we were thrilled – not just because lion cubs are an extraordinary mix of wild beauty and adorableness, but because they are the very first cubs to be born to the cats released into Samara as part of an effort to rewild our stunning landscape.

It’s not surprising, then, that we take enormous (ahem) pride in our lion family. Their continued wellbeing is not just an achievement for us, it’s an achievement for lion conservation across the continent – so, seeing their growth and development at seven months is nothing short of thrilling. It’s incredible to see how the two males and their sister are displaying typical traits – the boys, for example, are full of curiosity and eager to explore, characteristics that will serve them well when their father kicks them out of the pride to find their own territory by the time they are two to three years old. The female, meanwhile, is never far behind her mother. Like many mothers and daughters, this bond will last throughout their lives – in fact, they’ll stick together forever.

It’s also interesting to see that the cubs have now moved on to eating meat. Their mother ventures off every three to four days to make a kill, leaving the carcass hidden behind a tree or shrub to keep it safe from scavengers before calling the cubs to join her for the meal.

This is in stark contrast to our second batch of cubs – because, yes, we are lucky enough to have welcomed some more babies! Although these cubs have opened their eyes, they’re still considered newborns – it took a steep hike through rocky terrain as part of an anti-poaching patrol to find where their mother, Sheba, had hidden them. They’re still nursing, and will do so for another two months, so although she leaves them every three to four days to make a kill, she’s very careful about protecting them from danger and returns to them shortly afterwards so that they can feed.

We’ll be keeping an eye on both sets of cubs, especially because we’re eager to see how the dynamics between the two prides develop as time goes on. Although they share a dad (Titus has fathered both sets of cubs), their mothers aren’t related. This means that they’re unlikely to join up, and we’ll end up with two separate prides. More good news is that, because we took care to make sure that the three lions introduced to the reserve have different genes, we can be sure that we’re breeding strong bloodlines. This will stand the next generation in good stead.

Samara Private Game Reserve is a luxury 5-star destination with a passionate conservation mission set within breathtaking wilderness. Follow us on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram, or click here to start planning your stay with us today. A safari for the soul.

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