Heritage Hotels Big Cat and Migration Updates

Big Cat Update, Masai Mara, Kenya, Wednesday 6th December 2006

by Heritage

6 December 2006

With the long rains finally here, the Mara is already flooded in several places. This has begun to change the animals' behaviour, with the wildebeest returning back to their usual calving grounds in Tanzania. Many wildebeest had their young in the Mara earlier this year, in an unusual occurrence associated with the prolonged drought. Over the past two weeks, the Mara plains have changed radically, from dusty bare earth to a carpet of bright green.

All of the lion prides in our game-viewing territory are still around and actively hunting. The Ridge Pride has settled near Mara Explorer over the past week, moving between the Double Crossing area and the Intrepids Airstrip. For some time now, they seem to have avoided confrontations with the Olkiombo Pride, which had earlier cost the l ives of one member from each pride. The main cause of these fights was the two Ridge males, which have taken to shifting between the two prides. One of the Olkiombo females now has two small cubs sired by one of these males. The Shonko Pride with the two black-maned males, meanwhile, is still at Ol Keju Rongai. Its three cubs are doing well, although from now on their survival will depend upon the agility of the pride’s females to hunt the resident topi, impala and other plains game.

Cheetah sightings have been rather poor over the past week, due to the high levels of the local rivers, which have impaired the cats' access. One female cheetah has kept our guests entertained while hunting to the east of our camps. Our main star Kike has, however, not been seen for the past two weeks.

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 camp. Another leopard, a two-year-old female, has been spotted regularly at the seasonal stream just north of Mara Explorer. She had a kill stored up a tree, where she stayed for at least four days last week.

Please visit our website at www.heritage-eastafrica.com for more information on the wild comings and goings around our camps.

"Lately there has been no better place to film leopards in the Mara than the area around Mara Intrepids and Explorer. Since we first filmed Bella here in 2003, 90% of our filming of leopards for Big Cat Week has been done within 5km of the same location"
- Nigel Pope, Producer, Big Cat