It’s Monday31st Jan 2005 and the Lion Detector


It’s Monday31st Jan 2005 and the Lion Detector

I have been away all week in Lusaka – stuck in the board room of Airwaves Airlink, thrashing out the future plans. Airlines, it turns out, are extremely complex companies to run. However, exciting to be involved.

“What has happened” I asked on return, knowing that I had to write this newsletter.
“Nothing much” I am told.
“Surely something happened” I badger.
“Well…….” And so the week unfolded.

Debs and Kerrie went for a birding drive in the park – and managed to count 120 species in four hours. I was impressed! But they also told me that their record is 170 in twelve hours. Staggering.
“Any interesting birds?”…..”not really”….”sure?”….” we saw lesser gallinule, pygmy goose in a tree and of course the European storks are still around.” Hmmmm….. it is all relative. I would love to see a lesser gallinule!!

They did relate a few other moments on their drive which were notable…”a grass munching hippo suddenly turned and threatened the vehicle. It was a funny and surprising moment. As always the baboons entertained us. Oh yes, the place is full of zebra….and sleepy lions”. Then a penny dropped. Lions.

“That reminds us……we had lions in camp”. And the story unfolded. Adam is looking after Frankie for a friend on holiday. Frankie used to be his dog before he moved to RPS and clearly they are both delighted to be reunited. As many of you know, we have a genetically half wild cat in residence (certainly not half wild in behaviour, just half mad !!). We all knew it would be interesting to see how Kitty (ok ok, not an original name) would deal with Frankie. I am proud to say Kitty remains the queen of Nkwali and Frankie is most certainly the subordinate. I digress….on Wednesday Frankie starts growling during sundowners on the deck. He is such a docile creature it was clear something was up. He continued growling all evening. Then the staff sent word there were lions in camp.

Jonston, a madala (old man), was by the cage and saw a lioness. He spontaneously ran, which of course ignores all our instructions, shouting to Effrim and Aliyele nearby to run as well. Jonston made it to the office and slammed the doors. Effrim realized this was no time to start arguing with him and ran on, but Aliyele tripped spectacularly up the steps cutting his jaw and stunning himself. Effrim, bravely turned back to grab Aliyele and dragged him to the nearby compound. What drama. But of course the lioness had in fact completely ignored the whole scene, and walked on by. Effrim is now considered a hero by all for rescuing his friend….!!

It turned out the four lions hung around camp for two days and Frankie continued to be a very effective “lion detector”. So all in all, not bad for a week in which nothing happened.

The river is low, the lagoons have mostly emptied and we have temporary reprieve from the stress of potential floods. So from a sunny Luangwa….have a great week.

Jo

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