It’s Monday 14 Feb 2005 and the Lioness Dies

It’s Monday 14 Feb 2005 and the Lioness Dies

Rain at last….after 18 days with not a drop of rain, last night we had quite a down pour – although not much in mls, it all seemed to come at the same time. And did the wind came with it! One gust had the curtains in my house horizontal and I had to hold down everything on the table. It was a short storm and has yet to have any effect on the river – in fact it was probably just local rain. The level of the Luangwa is very low for this time of year. Most evident when compared to a picture of it at it highest back on 27 January – less than 3 weeks ago when it was rising an inch an hour.

Yesterday, being Sunday, we took the afternoon off. Jo and I did a bit of work in the morning (hard life..) whilst Robin set up the braai at their home. Geno, Adam and I joined later and had delicious lamb ribs – incidentally these came down from Shiwa N’gandu, which many of you will have heard of. An amazing house near Mpika, which is open to the public and well worth a visit – and also a farm – well, obviously if they are sending us lambs!

Unfortunately, the darted lioness from last week had to be put down. We had monitored her progress and finally had to inform the Zambian Wildlife Authority that she was not going to make it. She had lost all condition and looked in obvious pain. ZAWA were came and put her out of her misery. They did not have a spare vehicle so Adam, our workshop manager, set off in his landrover to collect them. Arriving at the spot where she was holed up it became clear that she was not very happy – a few growls and it was decided that standing up to shoot from an open vehicle was not a good idea. This was compounded by a lovely Japanese volunteer who is working with ZAWA. Camera in hand the lady kept jumping up to take a photo and it soon became apparent that Adam’s growls of “sit down now” were going over her head – not difficult as she is very short and obviously does not speak much English.

Adam decided that he did not want either claw marks on the exterior or a blood stained interior to his beloved landie. A hasty retreat back to camp and Adam picked up the Samil 20 – much better idea as it is high off the ground and has a cage on the back. Everyone felt much more at ease when returning to the spot. Especially when two male lions called from not too far off. Piela, our Mupamadzi mobile scout and one of the most experienced scouts in the valley, did the honours. Once closer inspection was possible it was obvious that the lioness had very poor teeth and gums and even if she had survived the quite horrific snare wound, would have found it very difficult to kill and eat.

And talking of lions – our little lion detector as left us. Yes Frankie’s owner has come back to the valley and taken her home. We miss her!!

Oh and happy valentines day – unfortunately we have to go to the airport to pick up our post, which arrives once a week – so if anyone has forgotten to send me a card there is still time!!

Stay well and have a great week.


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