The second encounter involved us following them through some very heavy brush. Despite the thickness of the brush, I was able to get some nice views but you can definitely tell they were not too keen on us being that close!
The third and final encounter with this pride was at the far side of the property as they came down to drink at a water hole in the early morning.
We had heard reports that they had been involved with a carcass in the overnight hours. No one was able to tell if they had made a kill and this was their carcass or if they were trying to steal it from some other predator. The result was that there had clearly been a battle over this carcass. When we caught up with this pride, we observed that the mother lioness had certainly taken the brunt of a very significant fight. As you can see from these images, she had some significant wounds to her flank and her head. What the still images don't show is that she was walking remarkably easily given the nature of her wounds. Those of us with less experience were concerned that these wounds might indeed prove fatal to her. However, our ranger assured us that such wounds while certainly running the risk of infection usually would not be fatal. Another concern brought up by these wounds is if the matriarch of this pride was wounded, would it impact her ability to make sure that her sub adult children could survive to adulthood with the hunting skills they needed. Only time will truly tell.
One thing this encounter clearly demonstrates is that life in the African bush is never easy. Those of us who do not encounter the drama of the African bush on a daily basis easily forget that hunting for your food each day is not without great peril. Aside from the dangers inherent in killing prey that does not want to be killed, there's also the risk of dealing with confrontation from other predators who want what you may have. The story of this lion pride and my visits with them clearly shows the grittier side of Mother Nature. As much as we may want it to seem like it's a Disney movie, survival often has a rather R-rated script to it.