Friday was a cloudy day, but it started with Eric saying that he had heard the lions roaring to the south of camp, so Kevin and I began checking the area, and soon Eric and Kevin had tracks for two males on our airstrip moving south and having not found tracks coming out of the area, we dropped the trackers off and began widening our search in the vehicles; Chané soon found where they had walked on top of Henry’s vehicle tracks a couple of kilometres ahead of us, and we moved into that area, knowing that they couldnt be far; we followed the tracks to a nearby pan, and then saw where they had moved away from that, past another pan and then eventually found the two male lions resting on the road; much to my surprise it was the two Western Pride males, and not the Kruger males as I had been suspecting – perhaps the Western Pride males got wind of the fact that these new males had chased their pride away from that area a few days earlier and came just to let them know who the real bosses were. Well, at least one of them is a boss, the other male looks like he is on death’s door! He is in an absolutely terrible condition, and really cant go on for long – skin and bone, and his eye is looking terrible. Sad to see, but it is part of nature, and the other male is looking in fantastic condition – how such a stark contrast in conditions arises is a mystery, but it is entirely possible that it is related to TB-resistence, whereby the stronger male is genetically predisposed to be less susceptible to the TB. They are the same age, grew up together, have lived together, but the difference in condition is incredible. We left them resting and carried on to the east in a light drizzle hoping to find some wild dogs, but it was not really happening out there this morning. We enjoyed a large elephant bull that had broken into one of the land owner’s camp grounds to enjoy the vegetation within the fence, and evidently, he enjoyed trampling the fence as he had done it everywhere! We had coffee under a gorgeous jackal berry tree, saw some waterbuck, impala and zebra and then headed home for a breakfast.
The afternoon saw us on a rhino mission, so we headed west and started off well with impala, waterbuck, warthog babies and kudu before we went through a quiet spell (except for the pangolin that turned into a rock) as we searched the west; Kevin and Eric managed to find the injured cow and calf, and after seeing some buffalo bulls, we went to watch the rhinos as they made their way to a waterhole. She is still limping badly, but looking in a fair condition, and we are still keeping our fingers tightly crossed. After a sundowner we headed east hoping to see the male lions roaring, but arrived to find that they had moved off…luckily, they hadnt moved far and we caught up with them as they finished drinking at a pan and move back north; the bigger male waited for his skinny partner but moved off a little later without him and we opted to leave the skinny guy in peace and head back to the lodge satisfied with a lovely afternoon.