Lion Cub (2018): Serengeti National Park, Tanzania

It is interesting how your perspective for photography changes with subsequent trips to a game park. Our first trip in 2017 to the Serengeti National Park in Tanzania was so overwhelming with all the animal life that our cameras never stopped shooting and we took over 6,000 photographs. In 2018, we took half that number and began to focus more on interesting situations. This lion cub entertained us for a long time.

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There are many prides of lions scattered throughout the Serengeti. We were traveling in a more remote area of the park when we came across a very small pride. It was unusual in that there were two males (brothers) instead of one, just two females and only a single cub.

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There are advantages to having two males as the head of the pride. If another male attempts to challenge the pride to become the dominant male then he would have to fight two males instead of one. Therefore, his chance of being successful would be severely reduced. However, according to our guide, only one male will mate with the females and the other brother is subordinate.

 

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It is not uncommon for a new male or males, in this case, to kill cubs that they have not fathered. This causes the female to come back in heat and therefore he can mate with her. This female had only one cub. We assume that it was his offspring because why kill some cubs but leave one. Therefore, this female either had only one cub or some tragedy occurred that killed the other cubs if she had given birth to a few babies.

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Having no brothers or sisters to play with meant that this little cub easily got bored and continuously harassed its mother. She was attempting to sleep but on numerous occasions when it would look to play with her she would growl at the pesky little cub. It would role in the grass, chew on sticks and feed. All this was very entertaining.

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The King Lives Up to His Reputation

Lions were out in full force in the Serengeti and the Ngorongoro Crater during our 4 day safari. We came across 4 different prides and a number of solitary lions. Although they are relatively abundant compared to the other big cats you never get tired of seeing them. However, they tend to sleep a great deal which doesn’t make for the best photos but every now and then something catches their attention and they perk up.

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Pride near the Grumeti River

If you are the king of the pride you need to live up to that reputation. This male is waiting for his lioness to wake up because he has something on his mind.

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She seems to be waking up. Ahhh, things are beginning to look promising for him.

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She is now awake and seems receptive so I guess it’s time to get down to business.

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The deed has been done (it lasted about 30 seconds) and she seems happy with his performance. Shortly after this photo was taken they both lay down and fell back asleep.

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Just like a domestic cat it seems that sleep is a big part of a lion’s life. You can sleep on the ground or you can find a comfortable fallen tree. The wildebeest are migrating at this time of year so you sleep, get up for a few seconds to watch the wildebeest go by and then you get some more sleep.

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We came across another pride laying in the long grass near a river. The male was there with his lionesses. Although the noise from our vehicle didn’t bother the lions as they kept sleeping, it did cause two small cubs to come running out from the long vegetation to find mama. Although it is fun to explore, there is nothing like being next to your mother when potential danger arises.

 

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Pride inside the Ngorongoro Crater