Heritage Hotels Big Cat and Migration Updates

Big Cat Update, Maasai Mara and Samburu, Kenya, March 4th 2008

by Heritage

4 March 2008

The only way to describe the Mara now is a jungle paradise! The current crisis in the country has been a blessing in disguise, with very few guests visiting the reserve allowing it to rejuvenate to its original wilderness state! Game viewing is also enjoyable owing to the little 'traffic', which is quite unusual in the Mara around this time, and the number of animals present in the reserve.

The short rains across the Mara plains recently have now left a carpet of lush green grass across the plains. At the onset of the rains, most of the remaining herds of wildebeest started migrating back to their usual calving grounds, leaving some of the Loita herds breeding in the Mara, which is quite unusual. The Mara predators have grabbed this opportunity to feed their young who would have otherwise been starving had all the migratory herds left as usual.

All the lion pride prides in our game viewing territory are still around and actively hunting the resident herbivores. For the better part of the last month, the Ridge Pride has settled along Olare-Orok River, moving northeast to Double-Crossing area and back to Mara Intrepids' Olkiombo airstrip. However, they are split up, with one group found towards the Mara River and the other favouring the area near Mara Intrepids.

The Olkiombo Pride still roams along the Talek river. Two females from this pride have month old cubs. The two nomadic males from the Ridge Pride, Sala and Cheza have been spotted trying to take over this pride earlier in the month. This promises to be an interesting lion soap drama in the coming weeks!

Shonko Pride - with the two black maned lions - are still at Ol-Keju Rongai, from where they hunt the resident animals, mainly Topi, Impala and buffalo. Bringing down any of this requires cunning strategies since they stay in groups and are always on the look out, which the Shonko Pride has perfected. There are no small cubs in this pride currently, though some females are expecting.

Up north in the Samburu National Reserve, lion sighting is now almost guaranteed since the resident pride has stationed itself along the banks of the Uaso Nyiro River, where the animals would come for a drink in the heat of the day.

Cheetah sighting has likewise been superb.

In the Mara a few individual cheetahs kept our guests enthralled by their sightings and hunting activities. The three brothers continue to roam around Rhino Ridge down to Burrungat Plains, where their hunting strategies leave everyone - guests and naturalists alike - stunned by their agility and determination. They have been hunting animals previously believed to be least on the Cheetahs menu, from adult Topi, wildebeest and Impala! What we are witness to is a remarkable change in animalistic behaviour, and we are proud to share it with our guests.

Our guest in Samburu have also been treated to cheetah kills, and we hope this will keep up in the coming weeks.

Leopard sightings have never been better. There are seven leopards around our game viewing area that we can now almost guarantee a sighting on every drive. Bella was seen two days ago at the junction of the Talek and Olare-Orok Rivers. She has lately extended her territory to Olkeju-Rongai where there is another young female with her mother in the same area.

Olive and her two cubs can be found between Mara Intrepids and the junction of the Talek and Olare-Orok. The cubs are now starting to relax in the presence of vehicles.
Guests have also been treated to regular encounters with two other leopards towards the Mara river, a young female and an adult male.

Leopard sighting at Samburu Intrepids is also almost guaranteed daily. The leopards here are not as shy as their Mara cousins, and live mainly along the river, where most animals are also found.

Watch this space for more breaking news from the world’s favourite felines!