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.
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.
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:
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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