NAIROBI PARK DIARY

A tree treat

Witnessing the spectacle of a pride of lions in virtual arboreal suspension is indeed a real treat

In Summary

• Nairobi lions have been climbing trees for many years

A lion jumps off tree at Kingfisher
A lion jumps off tree at Kingfisher
Image: GARETH JONES

Early one cloudy morning, we ventured into the park. I decided to drive in the Kingfisher picnic spot area. As we rounded a corner, suddenly there was a pride of 10 lions in the road.

As they walked right into the picnic area, the pride was joined by two dominant males, Sam and Cheru. Many of the lions then decided to climb some of the tall trees at the end of the picnic site. We watched this amazing sighting for a few hours as the lions entertained us.

One amusing incident involved two young lions. One of the lions wanted to climb down. However, the other lion was blocking the way and not prepared to move, as it seems that the branch was very comfortable. So the young lion made a daring decision to jump down about 5m directly onto the ground. It was quite a sight to see this jump.

Seeing lions up trees is not an everyday occurrence. Internationally, places like Ishasha in Uganda or Lake Manyara in Tanzania are well known for tree-climbing lion sightings. However, the Nairobi lions have been climbing trees for many years, much to the thrill and enjoyment of those who see such a sighting.

In my opinion, it actually appears that in the last few years, the frequency of Nairobi lions climbing up trees has definitely increased. But it is still a rare sighting to see almost an entire pride up various trees.

Why do they do this? There are various possibilities, ranging from escaping insects to enjoying the cool breeze to viewing for hunting purposes. Irrespective of the reason why lions climb, actually witnessing the spectacle of a pride of lions in virtual arboreal suspension is indeed a real tree treat. I hope these lions continue with this fascinating trend in the future.