Sunday, June 6, 2010

When Lions Don't Bore You to Tears

Most hyena researchers that come out here have a healthy respect for lions but, on average, there is no love lost between Fisi Campers and Mara lions. They steal our hyena's food, kill our hyenas, and for the most part, are just plain boring. Call us biased or elitist if you will, but hyenas are much more beautiful, much more intelligent, better hunters, and much more interesting in their behavior and biology. In my seven months out here, lions have impressed and fascinated me only a handful of times. Most of those times have been during lion/hyena interactions (I'm convinced that it was the hyenas bringing out the best in the lions and that the cool behavior really didn't have anything to do with the lions at all). A few times though, lions have been interesting all on their own. In the spirit of fairness and unbiased scientific discovery, I thought I would share a few of those stories with you.

One of the lions prides that I have warmed up to is a large pride that hangs out in our Fig Tree and Prozac territories. I've managed to find them interesting due to a few unique individuals that they have and a few unique behaviors that I have witnessed. Their subadults actually play instead of just laying around all day! Amazing!

This adult female has obviously earned my respect. All it takes is getting your face gored by a warthog

The other cool thing that this pride has going for it is a propensity for climbing small trees in a "clown-car-ish" fashion. Believe it or not, there are 8 lions in this little tree/bush.

In West Territory, there was this one time when I saw a lion actually stalking something! It failed miserably, but I was proud to see a lion actually trying something other than sleeping.
That same morning, shortly after this failed hunting attempt, two HUGE male lions put forth the effort required to chase these females across the plain and out of their territory.

This last picture may not look like much but it is undeniable proof that lions really do get up from their endless napping and do something now and then. So Kay, you really should listen to Dee and go a little easier on those poor lions.

I am still looking for undeniable proof of their superior intelligence and beauty though. That might take another seven months/years.


Dee said...

Kenna,Kenna, Kenna. What inquiring minds REALLY want to know is: 1) Did the gored lioness at least get to EAT the warthog? 2) Why are 8 lions up in a thorny tree, could it be that there are 36 hyenas on the ground trying to mob them? Just asking......

Kenna said...

1)Not sure, we only heard through the grapevine that that was how her face got messy.

2)No hyenas in sight, they were just being silly lions.

Michigan State University | College of Natural Science