Our first morning drive with Liberty gave us a close look at a Pearl’s Spotted Owlet—owls are my favorite birds of all so that was a real treat! We saw our first of many black-backed jackals, a canine I find very attractive.
This morning we learned about the lion conservation project that Hobatere hosts in conjunction with AfriCats: a well-funded organization that seeks to protect all the big cats, though its particular interest is in cheetahs. Because of this cooperation with AfriCats, two of Hobatere’s lionesses are collared and monitored. And this makes it possible for guides at Hobatere to track the two girls and find them for guests to see. On this first morning run, Liberty located the two lionesses and two cubs as well. We had so much fun watching the antics of the very playful male cubs. They were constantly mock fighting, stalking and ambushing each other, hiding in the grasses, and even leaping on their mother and aunt. Neither adult seemed very interested in play because they were full after a successful zebra kill. We had come upon the carcass before we saw the lionesses but the aunt seemed intent on guarding the remainder of the meal from any other creatures who might want to share in the bounty. This scene was our first conscious realization that we were not seeing vultures of any species. Liberty confirmed our thoughts saying that there is a mystery about the disappearance of these carrion eaters and no one really understands what is happening thus far.
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