The tree climbing lions of Uganda's QENP.

It is somewhat uncommon for lions to actually climb trees and there are only two populations of lions in whole world that actually do this as part of their day to day activities. One of these populations is found in the Ishasha sector of Queen Elizabeth National Park.

The lions are normally seen lazily lying up within the branches of huge fig trees in the heat of the day, keeping their eye on the numerous Ugandan Kobs grazing in the open plains, before descending back to the ground by dusk. The Ishasha lion population currently stands at around 40 individuals split across three prides.

It is supposed that the lions climb trees as a way of protecting themselves against the numerous tsetse flies that used to be found at ground level, whereas others claim they climb into the branches to escape the heat and enjoy the breeze. Limited studies indicate that the custom of ascending trees is culturally ingrained rather than a response to anything externally; nonetheless the reason they climb up into the branches still remains unknown.

Whatever the reasons, watching these majestic animals clamber up trees not unlike their leopard cousins, is a sight to behold in the remote Ishasha Plains in the southwest of QENP. This area offers some of the most alluring game-viewing in the country, both for its seclusion and its varied wildlife.

Staying there: Ishasha Wilderness Camp is situated within the Southern Ishasha sector of Queen Elizabeth National Park on the Ntungwe River, an idyllic retreat for people who truly enjoy the wilderness. This exclusive camp offers superb quality accommodation and services in this unspoilt remote sector of Queen Elizabeth National Park. Being within the park the wildlife is free pass through the camp and elephants can be seen bathing in the river, buffalo enjoy grazing and resident troops of Black-and-White Colobus and vervet monkeys are frequently viewed.

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