Moments of intimacy
Working on the Wild Dog project here in Southern Africa has brought with it the opportunity to enjoy and capture the interactions between other animals, like the momentary bonding between the members of this Mpumalanga pride.
Lions are often portrayed as brutal killers and have a reputation for being lazy (let’s face it, would you do much other than lie around if you had to wear a fur coat in the African sun?) but catch them on a cool winter morning and their playful and sociable sides shine through.
I followed a group of females for more than two hours as they played and bonded in the early morning light. One of the females even picked up a branch that an Elephant had broken off during the night and carried it in her jaws for what must have been more than a kilometer, to the envy of her sisters who occasionally vied for ownership with a little tug-of-war.
But male Lions are rarely as tolerant of any play and as this big male in Botswana’s Mashatu Game Reserve was in a particularly aggresive mood defending his kill, this plucky cub was lucky to get away with this invitation to bond.