27 March 2006
After the recent short rains across the Mara, the plains have been transformed into a carpet of lush grass ”“ providing a time of plenty for the reserve’s great wildlife herds. At the onset of the rains, most of the remaining wildebeest began migrating back to their usual calving grounds in the southern Serengeti ”“ although most had already had their young in the Mara. The Mara predators naturally seized the chance to feed their own young, who would have been starving had all the migratory herds left as usual late last year.
All of the lion pride prides in our territory are still around and actively hunting the resident herbivores. The Ridge Pride has settled along Olare Orok River, moving northeast to the Double Crossing area and back to the Mara Intrepids airstrip. In recent weeks they have been avoiding confrontations with the Olkiombo Pride, following their earlier encounters, which cost the lives of one member from each pride. The Shonko Pride with the two black-maned lions are still in the Ol Keju Rongai area, where their five cubs have been doing well. However, from now on, the cubs’ survival will depend upon the success of the pride females in hunting the larger ungulates and buffalo. Up north in Samburu, meanwhile, lion sightings have also been excellent, with the resident pride stationed along the banks of the Uaso Nyiro River not far from Samburu Intrepids, where plains animals always come for a drink in the heat of the day.
Cheetah sightings have also been superb in the Mara. Our prime star Kike has been hanging around the Double Crossing area and on the plains east of Mara Intrepids and Explorer for the past week, where she keeps us entertained with her famous habit of hunting from vehicle bonnets. The three brothers have also been around hunting. Two weeks ago, we found them playing with a newborn gazelle, which they then surprisingly abandoned ”“ leaving it, sadly, to drown in a drainage depression that afternoon. In Samburu, cheetah sightings have also been good, especially a female and two cubs spotted regularly on the Oryx Plains.
Bella was seen two days ago at Kichaka ya Round along the Talek River, while her son Chui has settled between Mara Intrepids and Rekero camps ”“ guaranteeing us regular sightings of these two most famous of cats. In Samburu, there have also been leopard sightings on an almost daily basis, with the leopards here guaranteed to come to the Uaso Nyiro River, where other game is plentiful.
Please also visit our website at www.heritage-eastafrica.com for more news on the world’s most famous felines”¦