Heritage Hotels Big Cat and Migration Updates

Big Cat Update, Masai Mara, Kenya June 4th 2007

by Heritage

4 June 2007

Although the long, rain-swollen grass across the Mara made it difficult to spot game during much of May, our guests have been enjoying more regular sightings of all the Big Cats in recent days. The fairly consistent rain has also made access to several parts of the reserve a big challenge, although all of the main roads and tracks remain usable. Some of the marshier areas, however, are very difficult to negotiate, particularly following the heavy rains of the past week. Heritage will continue to update you regularly on the changing weather conditions across the Mara ecosystem.

Lion sightings were not good at the beginning of May, but improved significantly towards the end of the month. Most of our lions had split up and were highly mobile, due to the widespread lack of food. However, conditions have improved and the main lion prides have now regrouped. Several zebras have started to move into the reserve from the Loita Plains in recent days - normally a sure sign of the imminent onset of the migration.

The Ridge Pride had relocated to the new Olare Orok Conservancy but is now slowly moving back into its original territory. The Olkiombo Pride had also extended its territory to overlap with that of the Ridge Pride in the north. It was good to see them all in good health a few days ago. Normally, the Mara's lions are close to starving at this time of year, due to a shortage of food following the departure of the larger herbivores.

A group of Intrepids guests witnessed some fierce fighting between the two males of the Shonko Pride and the three males of the Paradise Pride. Despite being outnumbered, the two dominant males would not let the intruders move onto their turf, and - with the help of their females - managed to see them off.

Bella, our star leopard, has been seen almost daily over the past two weeks in her new territory between Mara Intrepids and Rekero Camp. Although she appeared to be very thin in early May, the new concentration of plains game in the area has clearly helped to restore her health, and we are now hearing her regularly during the night. Guests also reported seeing Pili with a kill up a tree, while our guides discovered a third female with a seven-month-old cub near the Hippo Pool on the Mara River. Meanwhile, guests at Siana Springs continued to enjoy regular sightings of the Kissinger female and her grown cub, which have moved to the north side of the Sekenani-Talek Road.

Cheetah sightings were not good at the beginning of May, but also improved markedly towards the end of the month. As well as regular sightings of three male cheetahs in the Maji ya Fisi area, our guests have been treated to several encounters with a female to the northeast of the Intrepids and Explorer camps.

Happy Big Cat hunting from all at Heritage Hotels!05-06-07%20Issue%20Map%203.jpg