By Noelle DiLorenzo. Pictures by Meyam Njobvu. August 4, 2012.
There are many wonderful and secretive goings-on that occur in nature. Every once in awhile, guides are allowed to witness such happenings. The other night, Kennedy, found a lioness and started to follow her. She lead him and his guests straight to where she was keeping her three very small lion cubs, roughly two weeks old. The mother was relaxed and allowed Kennedy and his guests a rare and wonderful sighting.
The next morning, another one of our guides Meyam, made his way towards where the lioness and her brood had been seen the night before. When he arrived he was treated to one of the most magical sightings one can have – a lionesses moving her new cubs from one den sight to another. The light was perfect and Meyam manage to get several fantastic shots of her with a cub in her mouth.
Cubs are born with their eyes closed and only open them roughly one week to ten days after birth when they are a blue colour, (later turning a golden brown.) The mother will pick the cub up by the scruff of the neck and gently hold the cub in her mouth. The cub instinctively will relax every muscle and allow the mother to transport it to their new safe den. After giving birth she will move them so as the smell of blood and the sound of new life does not bring predators lurking that may harm or kill the cubs.
She kept her three cubs in the new den for at least a week and amazingly let us view them from time to time. She and the cubs were very relaxed as they played and suckled. She has since moved them to a new spot unbeknownst to us but give them another week or two and she will bring them out to introduce them to the rest of the Mwamba Pride.