Male lion on early morning walk at Nossob camp in the Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park.
Lions is the most social of all wild cat species, living in groups of related individuals with their offspring. Such a group is called a “pride”. Groups of male lions are called “coalitions”. Females form the stable social unit in a pride and do not tolerate outside females. Membership only changes with the births and deaths of lionesses, although some females leave and become nomadic. The average pride consists of around 15 lions, including several adult females and up to four males and their cubs of both sexes. Large prides, consisting of up to 30 individuals, have been observed.
Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park is a large wildlife preserve and conservation area in southern Africa. The park straddles the border between South Africa and Botswana and comprises two adjoining national parks:
- Kalahari Gemsbok National Park in South Africa
- Gemsbok National Park in Botswana
The total area of the park is 38,000 square kilometres (15,000 sq mi). Approximately three-quarters of the park lies in Botswana and one-quarter in South Africa. Kgalagadi means “place of thirst.”
The park is located largely within the southern Kalahari Desert. The terrain consists of red sand dunes, sparse vegetation, occasional trees, and the dry riverbeds of the Nossob and Auob Rivers. The rivers are said to flow only about once per century. However, water flows underground and provides life for grass and camelthorn trees growing in the river beds. The rivers may flow briefly after large thunderstorms.
The park has abundant, varied wildlife. It is home to large mammalian predators such as lions, cheetahs, African leopards, and hyenas. Migratory herds of large herbivores such as blue wildebeest, springbok, eland, and red hartebeest also live and move seasonally within the park, providing sustenance for the predators. More than 200 species of bird can be found in the park, including vultures and raptors such as eagles, buzzards, and secretary birds.
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