Gold Rush – Spotted four lions in Gir, Gujarat: The Great Arabian Sea Drive Day 9

gujarat-gir-lions

Finally I strike gold – it is a day when I spotted four lions in a single safari. To the credit of my driver and guide.

The first was a big lioness sitting stop a hill. Royally. It could not be bothered with the sudden vehicular activity a few metres away. It looked around, yawned, and lay down for an afternoon siesta.

gujarat-gir-lions

Just when I thought the safari had paid for itself, I was in for a bonus: a lioness with two cubs, a male almost two years old and another six months. The gender of the younger was not clear yet.

The guide managed to bend the rules and take the car off track, close to where the lions were resting. Allowing me to click away up close and with some time at hand.

Usually lionesses give birth once in three years said the guide. They mate only when the offspring is almost an adult. But in this case a male lion with a raised libido must have got the better of her. Thus the small age difference between the two cubs.

A lioness must also protect her cubs from male lions. A male can kill the cub if only to evoke a desire in the woman to have another kid and thus be available for mating.

Each forest has room for only one male lion; they fight it out otherwise till only one is left standing and alive. Only twin males cohabitate, like in the forest area I was in.

Lions mark their territory with claw marks like these
Lions mark their territory with claw marks like these

Males mark their territories by clawing on the barks of trees, and urinating over it. The smell indicates who is the king of the jungle.

Here go some family portraits:

The mother lioness
The mother lioness
The 6-month old lion cub
The 6-month old lion cub
The nearly 2-year old male lion cub
The nearly 2-year old male lion cub
Lion siblings in the forest
Lion siblings in the forest
The mother lioness walking to her babies
The mother lioness walking to her babies
The mother lionesses stopping to eat something from the ground
The mother lionesses stopping to eat something from the ground
And the mother lioness continues to stride along
And the mother lioness continues to stride along
The cub lion - yawning or practicing to growl?
The cub lion - yawning or practicing to growl?
That’s a grin, right, by the cub lion?
That’s a grin, right, by the cub lion?
The elder lion sibling
The elder lion sibling
The elder lion sibling
The elder lion sibling
The elder lion sibling
The elder lion sibling
The mother lioness with her cub
The mother lioness with her cub
Time for the cub lion to follow the family into the forest
Time for the cub lion to follow the family into the forest

Ajay Jain is currently on the Great Arabian Sea Drive, starting from Delhi and following the coastline all the way from Gujarat down to Kerala and Tamil Nadu. Follow all updates on:
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2 COMMENTS

  1. The claw marks…they clean them by scratching the tree bark. In the Western Ghats the tree is called the Tiger Tree. They mark their territory by spraying on trees.

    Just an observation, that’s all.

    Lash

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