After entering Nairobi National park through the East Gate, I continued to drive through the park without the hope of seeing wildlife that late afternoon. But after bypassing junction 7, ahead of me, two vehicles were parked next to a large shrub on a bend and I wondered what their owners had seen.
Then I saw them critically observing something which late I realized that they were observing a certain animal. It was a lioness with two small cubs just a few meters from the roadside. The cubs were in a playful mood and played many little games like ‘tag mom’s tail’ or ‘stalk and pounce’. Many of the games that cubs play hone their hunting skills as they mature.
As soon as the other cars drove away, the cubs suddenly began to play ‘tag me’ around an acacia tree. Then one cub actually climbed up the tree with the other one trying to follow. The lioness (whose ID is MF3) gave low concerned calls to the cubs and eventually walked over to the tree and called until the cub came down. It was fantastic to see cubs climbing a tree.
It was amazing because, tree-climbing lions are known in Manyara (Tanzania) or Ishasha sector of Queen Elizabeth National park in Uganda. The tree climbing lions are mostly seen by tourists while on their way to Bwindi impenetrable national park where gorilla treks take place. After seeing the cubs climbing I could not help but wonder why some lions climb trees and others do not? Sadly it appears that in the following weeks, the lioness (MF3) lost both her cubs as it is rare for a lone lioness to raise cubs.