no nonsense from a lioness
Female lions depend on the strength and weight of male lions when hunting larger prey like buffalo. With this being said I also reminded my guests of the incalculable agility and strength those lionesses have in their muscles and, even though they need the lions to assist with bringing down a buffalo, their power should never be under estimated. Even the king of the jungle knows that you don't look for nonsense with a lioness.
The addictive ingredient of going on a game drive is that you do not know what you will find around the next corner. We were surprised by three lionesses and their two cubs waiting out the last heat of the day under some greenery. As with all species, the young ones were playfully practising their skills while the adults were trying their utmost to rest and restore their energy levels and to avoid being used as a climbing frame. We genuinely enjoyed the entertainment caused by their playfulness but we thought that the one female had had enough of it when she quickly got up and the cubs dropped to the ground like leaflets. She stared in a northerly direction, fixing her eyes on the treeline in front of her. She was quickly followed by her sisters and there was a sudden air of tension in the group. One of the mothers gathered the cubs and hurriedly headed for the safety of the thickets. There was something on its way and we could see what it was.
Breaking the treeline we saw four female and two male lions charging like soldiers onto a battlefield towards the lionesses in front of us. By the aggression on their faces we could clearly see that this was not a treaty but the battle was on. We couldn't believe that the tranquillity of a moment ago was evaporating in front of our eyes like mist in the sun. We were in disbelief when we realized that the third lioness was back from hiding the cubs and had now joined the charge up to the unknown lions. Watching from the side-lines, we could not help but be agonised by the fact that the three lionesses were outnumbered. The lions met one another with paws and claws flying. The growling and sounds that came from the fighting were infused with the pain that was experienced by both sides. The three lionesses might have been outnumbered but their heavier size and greater strength tipped the scales in their favour. To our relief the unknown females retreated and left the males to their own devices.
Even though it was now the three females against two males we still held our breath watching the sheer power with which the males retaliated. It was astonishing to see how the sisters worked together to intimidate the two large males. The larger female was constantly inflicting serious bites followed by strong claw attacks while her sisters kept the attention of the males by harassing them repetitively. The irritation grew between the males to such a point that they shockingly started growling and biting one another, furious for not getting the best of these persistent females. This was the opportunity the lionesses were waiting for. It took one last attack to convince the males not to follow the females when they scattered away into the thickets. We sat in wonder, overwhelmed by what we just experienced while we watched the males licking their battle wounds, finally limping their way to a new destination.
The same two male lions were found during the next morning's game. We knew that with every limping step they took they were reminded not to look for unnecessary nonsense with a lioness.