On the 23rd January 2017, the boma gates were opened. The two boys, who had travelled 36 hours 8 weeks earlier, were suddenly face to face with freedom. They hesitated and stared cautiously at the gaping exit in front of them. A whiff of fresh meat met the nostrils of the larger male and he confidently strode towards the gate licking his lips. The younger brother, not far behind had his eyes focused ahead and didn’t stop for anything.
The larger male had tasted freedom 3 weeks previously when he managed an incredible circus act and broke through the bonnox fencing in between the electric wires – a feat that even David Copperfield would be impressed by! Since then the conservation team had darted him, fixed him with a collar, and returned him to the boma. He was no stranger to the outside world and was quick to exit the boma and head straight for the juicy wildebeest rump that was luring him out. The heat was suffocating and flies irritatingly flew up as he started to tear at the flesh of the bait. His younger brother took no interest and was more eager to find shade then to fill his belly.
Watching from the cool shade of an umbrella thorn tree, the younger male grumbled at his cumbersome brother to hurry up. The larger male looked up from his meal, the heat was unforgiving to his large mane and the more time spent in the sun, the more tempting the cool shade of the tree was looking. He reluctantly left his easy meal deal behind and followed suit to where his brother was lying.
In no time, the tall grass engulfed both brothers as they moved into a drainage line nearby. With a visit from the largest lion from the resident 3 male coalition still fresh in their minds, the two new boys headed South for some thick cover. And that is where they have been since their release, every other evening they are heard vocalising in the North of the reserve, but watch this space as it’s only a matter of time before the coalitions collide!
Thanks to Andrew Taylor for the images