The prey selection and predatory behaviour of a single pride of lions (Panthera leo) was studied in the 8500 ha Karongwe Game Reserve from 1999–2005. The study focused on the difference between prey selection in the first three years when a two-male coalition was present with a similar period thereafter when one of the males was removed and subadult males dispersed from the pride. A total of 662 kills were recorded, with blue wildebeest (Connochaetes taurinus), warthog (Phacochoerus africanus), waterbuck (Kobus ellipsiprymnus), zebra (Equus burchelli) and impala (Aepyceros melampus) being the most preferred species. Although there was preference for these species, and adult prey were favoured, there was no significant selection for prey size, age or gender. There was a significant difference in the number of kills made when the two-male coalition was present as opposed to the single pride male. The solitary pride male spent significantly more time with the females and shared most of their kills, and during this period dispersing subadult males killed a substantial amount of prey when separated from the pride. Knowledge on predator feeding behaviour is important for managers to assess impact on prey populations in small reserves in order to manage them correctly, thereby preventing depletion of such populations.
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Vol. 38 • No. 1