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Archive for February 5, 2014

East Africa Safari – Episode 4 – Lying Lions (in trees)


On the way through the southern part of the Queen Elizabeth Park, our itinerary had advertised a chance to see rare, tree climbing, lions.   Now you could think, lions are cats – of course they can climb trees!  That seems perfectly logical until you realize that lions can weigh up to 500 + pounds and they have to haul all that up a vertical surface.  So anyway, while lions CAN climb trees, they are not normally found there.  We had driven through the majority of the southern area of the park and it was a very quiet day for any kind of animal so we all began to think this was “hype” for this transit part of our trip but that we were unlikely to see any lions looking down at us.  We had, in fact, called the restaurant where we were to have lunch and placed our orders for 20 minutes later.  Just then our guide received a phone call from another guide and off we drove (at high speed) to get to the lion tree before they woke up and came down.  When we arrived there were actually 5 lions in a large fig tree – all in various stages of their nap cycle.  Some were awake and keeping an eye out.

The watchdog.....

The watchdog…..

Some were snoozing.

Must have had a hard night with the hyenas...

Must have had a hard night with the hyenas…

Some were yawning (and looking very fierce in the process)

Tired....or hungry?

Tired….or hungry?

And some were just hanging out…

Lazy Lion

Lazy Lion

We just counted ourselves as very lucky to have been able to spend some of their nap time with them before we left for our lunch.  I should mention that no one knows why these lions climb trees while most other lions don’t.  The theories range from trying to stay cool in the heat to getting a high and safe spot to be able to spot their prey  – sounds like we should get a grant to go back and study this for a few months…… 🙂  Just one last shot to show the tree that they were in.  We didn’t get a shot of all 5 but this photo that my friend Mike took caught three of them.

tree house .....

tree house …..

Just another rotten day on the east african safari trail……  🙂