White Lions Spotted Climbing Trees

By Will & Lianne Steenkamp

It’s been a real tough mission looking for our lions in the rough, rocky mountainous terrain located on both sides of the Klaserie River. As most of you will know, the ‘white pride’ has been spending the majority of the last four months in the northern section of the Klaserie PNR along the river.

Most of our days are spent tracking and searching until dark, with no success or results. However, yesterday we had a bit of luck and spotted them in the early morning, close to a dam, from where they started to stalk giraffe. After a while they gave up and seemed to settle for the day. A little later, at around 9am, they got up again and walked closer to a herd of impalas as the rutting of the males attracted their attention. Despite having recently fed, they seemed very keen on hunting and it was not long before they were in stalking mode again.

A bit later, two rutting impalas almost ran straight into them. One of the lionesses just watched them as if confused that they were coming towards her and one of the white youngsters did a half-hearted attempt to catch one, but failed.

Just as they were about to settle in at 11am, they watched some vultures flying low and landing nearby, and all got up again and suddenly rushed off.

We lost them in the thick bush but luckily managed to relocate them and once we drove closer, we suddenly noticed one of the white ones sitting high up in a Marula tree, feeding on a leopard’s impala kill!

As cubs, they often climbed in trees and it seemed as if these climbing sessions had finally paid off!

The lionesses struggled to scale the tree with the big one, Matimba, not even trying and the other one barely making it to the first fork and just managing to pull a piece of carcass down with her. On the other hand, the youngsters easily managed to climb up into the tree and each enjoyed their own feeding sessions. The young male was up there for most of the time and whilst he was feeding, was dubiously stared at fearfully by some giraffes close by. One white lion even ran towards the giraffes as if to say “Beat it or I’ll catch you” but the giraffes were puzzled and uncertain how to get out of there as quickly as possible.

For the youngsters, the getting down part was a bit more tricky than they had anticipated and they looked rather pitiable in their clumsiness and feeble attempts to get back down to solid ground.

After all that, their hard work had paid off and the youngsters were content, finally settling down at 2pm.

This incredible sighting proves that not all lions ‘sleep’ throughout the day…….

Hope to give you another update soon,
Will and Lianne

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