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28 Nov 2016. Floodplain Cubs. The three orphan cubs of the Floodplain Pride have surpassed expectations by surviving a critical period after the death of the mother Xpl-55. A cheetah-sized GPS collar was fitted to one of the cubs on 29 Oct 2016 in order to monitor their activities. The last surviving adult lioness Xpl-69 of the Floodplain Pride has not yet accepted the youngsters and remains temperamental towards them. Despite the lack of nurturing, guidance and support, the cubs have survived. They joined the lioness Xpl-69 on two Oryx kills and it is suspected that they also scavenged or killed a medium sized prey animal during the past 30 days.

Over a 30-day period the three large cubs moved a total distance of 131.4 km over an area of 246 sqr km between the Hoanib Floodplain and Amp’s Poort (see map: top). On average they moved 4.7 km per night with a maximum of 14.8 km. During six of the 30 nights they moved more than 10 km. When compared with the movements of the adult lioness Xpl-69 (see map: bottom) it was evident that they met-up on six occasions (yellow shaded blocks). Xpl-69 located and joined the cubs on three occasions and the cubs followed and joined Xpl-69 on the remaining three occasions.

Movements of the three female large cubs of the Floodplain Pride between 29 Oct and 27 Nov 2016.
Movements of the three large cubs (red) and the adult lioness Xpl-69 (blue) of the Floodplain Pride between 29 Oct and 27 Nov 2016. The yellow shaded blocks depict the periods when the cubs and the lioness were together.