Lady of Lewa Cub Gets a Collar
It has been more than 1 ½ years since their famous mother died. These are the Lady of Lewa’s cubs; orphaned at the tender age of 10 months, but now standing proud and healthy at two years and six months. Their story is one of tragedy and survival; their mother died protecting them from an attack by two larger male lions who were seeking out the Lady as a mate. It is not un-common for male lions to kill cubs, even their own, in order to bring a female back into season so that they can mate her. She fought these males off on numerous occasions until the last encounter that proved fatal.
The three cubs were lucky to escape. At first they were spotted looking frightened and vulnerable. With time they were able to survive by feeding on small animals, birds and carcasses. However, tragedy struck again when one of the cubs, the only male from Lady’s offspring, was killed in January 2011 by rival lions. The two female cubs were again lucky, and escaped unscathed. They continued to be spotted on Lewa until a few months ago when it was suspected that they had moved to the neighbouring Samburu plains. However, it was pleasant news when two weeks ago the cubs returned home. They were spotted by a surveillance officer looking beautiful, healthy and strong!
The Lady of Lewa wore a radio-tracking collar, which made it possible to monitor her movements. Linda Friedman, director at Custom Safaris recently sponsored a similar collar for one of the cubs. The wildlife and research team spent the better part of the evening of Wednesday, 2nd May, tracking them down. The operation was successful and one of Lady’s cubs now spots a collar around her neck. The two lions are inseparable and this will ensure that it is always possible to identify their location.
It is evident that the cubs have inherited the Lady of Lewa’s resilience and survival skills. They are also strikingly elegant, reminiscent of their mother’s gracefulness. They do not have their own cubs yet, but with time we hope they will create their own pride.