Safaris & stories
Africa Geographic
Wildlife . People . Travel
Africa Geographic Travel

Practice, Practice, Practice

Perhaps one of the most important things that a young lion will need to learn how to do well, is to learn how to hunt. Lions and other carnivores that prey on fast-moving prey have a much harder time of things when it comes to catching their food than do similarly sized herbivores whose plant food makes no attempt to escape. In strong contrast most potential food items for lions make very determined efforts to escape.

Lion cub hunting

Some of the ways that lions learn to hunt can be seen when watching them in the wild. Very young cubs remain hidden during hunts, but older cubs will move with the pride when on the hunt, right up until the final stalk, and they get to see the action played out in front of them. Another way in which they learn is by adult lions sometimes capturing small *or* helpless prey like a young antelope and allowing the cubs to ‘play’ *or* learn how to kill the animal. One doesn’t see this nearly as much with lions as with other big cats like leopard and cheetah though.

And of course young lions also learn how to hunt by practice. The young female cub in these pictures broke away from her pride who were on the move, and made a decent effort of stalking these redbilled buffalo-weavers. At the last moment she charged at the birds, but they were just a little too fast for her, even though she leaped into the air in pursuit. Even though the little lion never succeeded, such effort will still bring valuable reward in helping the cat perfect it’s technique.

This young lion was photographed near Mombo camp, in the Okavango Delta, and she is part of a very successful pride that roam the area that are known as the Moporota Pride.

Visit my website for more:

Lion cub hunting

Travel with us

I am a South African who grew up in the former Transkei, (now the Eastern Cape) and I spent much of my time along the Wild Coast. For over ten years I have been working as a guide in northern Botswana, for a company called Wilderness Safaris. I spend many days of each year leading photographic safari trips with small groups of people through our fixed camps in the Kalahari, Okavango, Linyanti and Savuti regions, mostly. My special interests are birds, lions and photography, in no special order. When I am not guiding in the field, I take part in some of our companies environmental projects. Botswana is a country with a solid conservation ethic, and I am fortunate to be able to share some of what I do and see by means of my writing and my images. Visit my photography page