Outcast lioness of Gir now queen of her pride
Times of India
A lioness in Gir, who was deserted by her group four months ago, has not only returned to the pride but has formed her own pride of nine that includes three females. She also guards her own territory sprawling up to roughly 40 sq km.
This female dominates a group of six cubs and two lionesses. Officials keeping a close watch on this teenage mother said the lioness slowly started approaching the group after her cub became about six months. The lioness and her cub started becoming weak as she found it difficult to hunt. She therefore decided to go back to her pride.
The lioness was kicked out of her group for a fling with a lion and bearing his cubs. The group had no aversion in accepting her too. Once this teenage lioness was accepted back in the group, she started dominating the group.
And the lion too was spotted moving in the same area close to the group "Lionesses in Gir display a behaviour different from those found in Africa, where the males dominate their territory. But in Gir, it always the lionesses that protect the territory. A couple of lions guard at least three to four sub groups that are closely guarded by the female," said additional principal conservator of forest H S Singh.
He said a male dominates a territory of 70 sq km, but there are at least four to five subgroups. Unpleasant incidents are reported where groups of two females develop enmity. The female who guards her group does not let a female from another group come close to them. There is hardly any tolerance limit among the female subgroups , said Singh, adding that such behaviour is not observed in Africa. A senior officer posted in Gir said, "Because of the hilly area within the forest, one does not find much enmity between the male groups, but the same enmity can be seen between two female groups."