Tag Archives: lioness

Big Cat Parenting – Maasai Mara October 2020

A roar comes from within a thicket, the leaves are dense shielding its occupants but there is no mistaking the sound. A Lioness has taken herself away from her pride to give birth, protecting her offspring against over exuberant siblings and competition between cubs for limited milk, she must protect her own. Her den has been compromised; a group of sub adult Lions from her pride have stumbled upon her hiding place and her hormones and primal urge to protect her cubs rouses her. She leaps out of the bush snarling and roaring, the sub adult’s leap back alarmed, they did not know she was there. They may be her offspring also but she is nursing younger cubs and nothing comes between a mother and her new born babies. She stands her ground, her teeth exposed in a grimace, the sub adults back down immediately they know not to approach her, they make a hasty retreat. The Lioness is fierce, muscular and strong, but she is also a mother. She hears the small meows of her cubs and her face relaxes and she turns back to the thicket. Three tiny faces appear, cubs of around just two weeks old, their eyes are still shut and they are stumbling around looking for the warmth of their mother. She bends to nuzzle and lick them, reassuring them of her presence. She lays down encouraging them to come to her with low grunts; they smell for her milk and blindly scramble onto her stomach, kneading her belly to encourage the flow of milk. Each clamps their mouth on a nipple meowing contentedly. The Lioness relaxes and closes her eyes; this is her purpose, her meaning in life to produce heirs for the pride, to ensure the survival of Africa’s greatest cat.