We are delighted to announce lots of new lion life in Laikipia! Narok and Labai, the two lionesses collared in January 2018 for Lion Landscapes #collaringforcoexistance program have both had cubs since being collared.
Following a gestation period of four months, the lioness retreats into thick impenetrable habitat to give birth, keeping her cubs hidden for up to six weeks. As a result, we are usually unaware of when a female has had cubs. However, the GPS maps we download from their collars each morning onto the Save the Elephants app allows us an insight into the intimate details of where they have been and also what they have likely been doing. Consequently, we were able to track and pinpoint the exact day Labai and Narok’s cubs were born!
Narok had her cubs on a very steep rocky cliff covered with thick scrub on Loisaba Conservancy. While Labai retreated to some huge rocks on Suyian Ranch, the area is almost inaccessible even on foot. Due to the GPS maps showing their movements we were able to warn livestock owners in the area to be especially vigilant for a hungry lioness with small cubs, as this time isolated from pride life is when lionesses are more likely to resort to taking livestock! Thomas, our senior research assistant was also able to see the cubs early on, counting how many were born giving us valuable information on cub survival. At birth the cubs weigh around 1.5kg (3 lbs.) and their eyes do not start opening until day three. They remain fully dependent on their mother until they are weaned after six to eight months.
After the trials of 2017 we are incredibly happy to see new life in these prides ensuring stability in their populations. We remain extremely grateful to The Nature Conservancy, Tusk Trust, Will’s Africa Fund, the Kenya Wildlife Service, and our many crowd donors for supporting the work we do, enabling us to better monitor the lion populations of Laikipia.