Princeton University Students catch a lion up a tree in Nairobi National Park!


I have just completed teaching a community conservation field course to 9 Princeton University undergraduate students and 5 Kenyans in the Nairobi Park ecosystem.

We were staying at Masai Lodge where lectures were conducted. It was extraordinary that on the day that Dr. Charles Musyoka (KWS) spoke about the national carnivore strategy, lions started roaring from across the valley. And then one lioness started heading down the valley and towards the lodge. The students abandoned the class to watch the astonishing behavior of these lions as two males then roared in her direction from vantage points on the slope.  Were they listening to the lecture?

I notified the students that this was not a pre-arrangement. That what they were observing was truly extraordinary.

Well I don’t think they believed me. On our evening game drive as I searched the plains for the lion the students found one up a tree! I have never heard of lions up trees in Nairobi Park before. Here’s the picture to prove it!

Tree climbing lion in Nairobi Park (Photo by Justine)

The next morning we went on an early drive in search of lions and those who slept in will regret it til the day they die. The interactions between 4 lions, and 2 lionesses and a rhino and her calf blew my mind. I go into the park nearly every single day, often twice, and I’ve never witnessed such a carnival of action.

This Lioness was trying to escape from her consort (Paula Kahumbu)

Two male lions from another clan roaring on approach (Paula Kahumbu)

They walked right past us and stopped to drink!

...then sauntered off down the road

after causing this rhino to have a near heart attack

Phew, I’ll never be able to live up to the expectations of next years Princeton group!

Watch this space for more information about the Princeton ecology field course.

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13 responses to “Princeton University Students catch a lion up a tree in Nairobi National Park!

  1. yes ! tree climbing lions are rare in the park , but over the last 10 years i have been blessed to have had a number of sightings , the highest being about 7m up a large accacia tree ! i have many photo’s !

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