Not too long ago I defined the word HOPE using a remarkable sighting of a baby rhino. Well this morning, we at Londolozi, clearly define the word JOY!
The morning was thick with mist and pregnant with expectation. The rangers and trackers were out at first light. The winter morning chill is an ideal way to start the day. Suddenly out of the mist came a dark manned male lion, then another. Lying in the grass, not too far away, was not one, not two, but four lionesses. The four Sparta females had all grouped together with two males from the Majingilane Coalition. Magic in it’s own right; but there was more movement stirring underneath the one lioness…the new 3 cubs were happily suckling.
This is when JOY exploded from the grass. Out of the misty undergrowth came more life. The two ‘lost’ 7-8 month old Sparta cubs were ALIVE. There they were in amongst the rest of their pride. Only yesterday I had written a piece trying to way up their fate now that they were motherless. In my heart, I will admit, I had written them off. Two lives written off as an unlucky statistic and jotted down on an ever sprawling family tree. Nine days of wandering alone is a long time out here in the bushveld!
The two had survived and had reunited! It was the most simple, yet poignant, definition of JOY that one could ever muster up. The smiles on the rangers and trackers faces were priceless.
So they are all together; the youngsters are looking fat and full. They have lost some condition on their backs but nothing too serious. If these two young sisters can now just follow the pride then they may well have a chance. As the pride moved off so they ran behind, desperate not to loose their surrogate mothers.
Time will tell how these two survivors will move forward. Yet again, the Lions of Londolozi throw out another fantastic tale. Walt Disney himself would be smiling.
Written and photographed by Adam Bannister