I went on a game drive at a local game reserve recently. We had a visitor from Australia and we thought she might appreciate some time in the bush seeing some wild African animals.
About an hour into our drive, we saw an elephant in the distance and our ranger / driver headed off to find it. Suddenly, we saw a white lioness in the bush to the right of the game vehicle. She stopped, took a look at us and then disappeared quickly into the thick bush. We sat and waited a while to see if she would return.
As we waited, our guide saw an adolescent lion cub coming from the other side of the vehicle. The guide mentioned that this lion was one of 4 cubs and that the female we had just seen was probably their mother.
The young lion was sniffing and following mom’s scent but seemed to become quite distressed when he could no longer find it. He went off down the track behind the vehicle, sniffing the ground and the air as he walked. After about 200m, he turned around, apparently having lost the scent altogether. He made his way back towards us, still sniffing. He bypassed the vehicle and then disappeared into the bush along the same path that he had appeared from.
We sat patiently, wondering what would happen next.
A few minutes later, we saw him coming out of the bush again, along the same path, but this time with his 3 siblings. One-by-one, each sibling came out in front of the vehicle, following the first cub. The first three were also white lions and the 4th was a normal tawny lion. They crossed over to the other side of the track and circled around sniffing for mom’s scent. After a few minutes of pacing around, they re-grouped and paused to look at us. Then they obviously decided to stay put and wait for mom’s return as they settled down in the long, dry grass.
We never found out if mom did return with food and we did not see her hunting either. All we can hope is that she had some success as her adolescent cubs looked like they would need an awful lot of food!
What could be more of a delight (certainly not an everyday delight!) than seeing these magnificent creatures living freely. We were so fortunate to see these cubs and their mother. The white lion is a protected species and there are not many of them living freely in the wild. Our guide pointed out that they are not albinos, rather there is a recessive gene in some normal tawny lions that produce white lion cubs.
Photos by Debbie Stott – All Rights Reserved
Guest Author Bio
I have been involved in education of one sort or another for my whole life – primary teaching, university teaching, corporate teaching and training, as well as creating educational resources for primary and senior school teachers and learners. I completed my PhD in primary maths education in 2014 with a focus on after-school maths clubs for young primary pupils. Education and learning are important to me in all its forms – formal and informal. I am passionate about encouraging people, particularly children to learn new skills and knowledge, to think for themselves, to understand so that they can grow, be independent, make their own choices and decisions and be empowered to own their own lives. My other passions are photography and non-academic writing in the form of blogging. I have been taking photos since 1997 when I bought my first film SLR and am in the third year of a 365 photography project. I started my “Everyday Delights” blog as part of a 2015 100 Happy Days challenge as a way of combining these two passions.
Blog / Website: Dibz-zen
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