Heritage Hotels Big Cat and Migration Updates

Big Cat Update; Masai Mara, Kenya Monday 8th May 2006

by Heritage

8 May 2006

The arrival of the long rains early last month brought considerable relief ”“ not only to the Mara’s game but also to its human residents, who had been deeply saddened by the growing number of starving and emaciated animals around the reserve. In a few short weeks, the grass has grown tall and, as is usually the case at this time of year, most animals have moved to areas where the grass is shorter. This is mainly to avoid predation, but also to look for more nutritious shoots. However, this year the number of animals around the Mara reserve is surprisingly high.

Lion sightings have been very good this past month, with the Ridge Pride seen by our guests nearly every day. All the 10 sub-adults ”“ eight females and two males ”“ are still roaming in their ‘empire’, usually around the Maternity area south of Rhino Ridge. Over the past month, they have also expanded their territory east of Rhino Ridge and north and south of Mara Intrepids/Explorer. The Olkiombo Pride can still be seen along the Talek River, with the two males from the Ridge Pride now firmly ensconced in their pride. Although there are a couple of nomadic males also trying to inch their way into this territory, they have no chance as the two dominant males are at their prime and can see off the intruders with ease. The Shonko Pride, meanwhile, has settled around Maji ya Eland, just southwest of Mara Intrepids, where they are being spotted daily. The Paradise Pride has also become more settled around the main wildebeest crossing along the Mara River, which is currently enjoying a high concentration of game. The Sekenani Pride, better known to guests at Siana Springs, can still be seen just to the west of Sekenani Gate.

Leopard sightings improved towards the end of last month, with regular sightings of Bella along the Mtamaiyu Stream, where she had a kill last week. The young male was only seen a few times last month. There is also another female with two cubs at the Maji ya Fisi drainage, which also tolerate vehicles in much the same relaxed manner as Bella. Hopefully she will raise these cubs successfully so that we will have more photogenic cats in the Mara. Our Siana guests, meanwhile, continue to enjoy the sighting of a female leopard with a cub in the Kissinger area, where the long grass often drives her to adopt the classic leopard pose in higher tree branches.

Kike, our greater spotted star, gave us several fantastic ‘shows’ last month. While most other cheetahs were wandering unpredictably, Kike has made Rhino Ridge her permanent home, however much game there might be in the area. For the past two weeks, she has been spotted many times in the vicinity of the Mara Intrepids airstrip. The three male cheetahs were also seen around Intrepids early last month, but have now moved south to the Hammerkop area, where they are being regularly spotted by Siana’s guests.