Ghoha Hills

Death of a lion cub

Sad news at Ghoha is that we have recently discovered the death of one of the Ghoha Pride lion cubs. It is not easy for any young animals out there, but lions' mortality rate sits at a high 50%. That is because of the incredible risk they face after birth: hyenas, buffaloes, and other lions are their biggest threats in the wild. One of the Ghoha Pride twins was absent from 2 sightings, and it can therefore be confirmed that it has not survived.

The youngest out of the three cubs is a female born to Schingwedsi, while the 2 older cubs (about a year old) were born to the other Ghoha Pride lioness. All three cubs survived the transition of their pride into new leadership, and their father was chased out of his territory. This is usually a risky time for young cubs, as the new males like to eliminate existing cubs in order to bring the lionesses into oestrus and mate with them themselves. Sadly, after surviving the 2 new males of the pride, one of the cubs must have succumb to another factor out here in the wild Savute. This is the report from lodge manager, Abram:

For the past week, the Ghoha Pride lionesses were seen alone. All around the hill their tracks were seen, and eventually we found them at Motswiri Pan where guide, Foster, observed that there were only 2 cubs. 

Concern and mysteriousness raised the roof at Ghoha Hills. Perhaps the missing cub was just shying away from the vehicle?

All uncertainty and doubt was eradicated when the pride was spotted near the Ghoha entrance where the females were relaxing in the afternoon. One of the twin cubs was there with them, and  Milady (the youngest female) was also present. But no sight of the third cub confirmed our fears that we have indeed lost one of the Ghoha Pride members. Milady provided some entertainment, behaving as if she was on guard, noticing each and every movement, and being very brave! 

Although now we are sure that the third cub has not survive the challenges of being brought up in the wilderness, the mystery continues to occupy our minds: What happened to this beautiful, strong, healthy cub? Was it their eternal enemies, the buffaloes? Other lions we've seen in the area? Spotted hyenas, wild dogs or reptiles?

We can only speculate. 






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