Heritage Hotels Big Cat and Migration Updates

Migration Update 2009: Issue 5

by Heritage

24 August 2009

Wildebeest Migration

The wildebeest migration is still on in the Mara. The concentration of the migrating herds is almost spread in the whole of the Mara triangle, with some big herds on Paradise Plains. The Serengeti herds in the past week kept streaming in from the south with the leading herds pushing further north and others west into the Mara Triangle. They kept crossing the River by Look Out Hill over the week. The grassland recently burnt in the Mara Triangle is still attracting the herds.

Most herbivores in this ecosystem have come to associate the burning with fresh grass, which is true only if there is some rain soon after the burning. Most of the Mara Plains are now a sea of over grown red oat grass. To most herbivores this is quite tough and rough for their digestive systems and this explains why the herds have just been rushing through the reserve where there is plenty of new grass.

The crossing at the Paradise Plains over the week, crossed to the west of the Mara River. These were the herds that were crossing east from the Mara Triangle last week. Now they are going back.

The crossing however is not as exiting as usual since the amount of water in the river is very low. The herds of wildebeest just walk across. However, the crocodiles are really struggling to make any kill. They cannot stalk anything in water since they can be seen approaching. Deep water helps them drown their prey easily.

The lions are having an easy time with the availability of prey everyday. Some lion prides have small cubs. All the lion prides in our game viewing territory have been present over the last two weeks. We witnessed great hunts and kills in the last two weeks.

Cheetahs were also seen over the same period. Shakira has moved south of Talek River and lately has been beyond Olkeju-Rongai. Her three cubs are quite active and have been seen making their own kills.

Leopards were also seen quite regularly around the area near Mara Intrepids. Olive has a new litter. She was seen for the first time on 27th July with a cub at Olare-Orok River crossing. After a brief disappearance, she appeared again two days ago with two cubs at a new location on the Talek. We are keeping a keen eye to see how she will behave with her older litter of Binti, Ayah and Kali.

Paul Kirui, Chief Safari Guide

Kindly contact: safariguide@mara-intrepids.co.ke for comments or inquiry on the migration and other interesting wildlifel sightings in the Mara, Rift Valley, Samburu and Tsavo West National Park


Migration Update 2009: Issue 4

by Heritage

5 August 2009

The wildebeest have made another dramatic come back. Over the last few days, the concentration in the south of the reserve swelled to an enormous number. Most of the herds as per our previous update have made a complete cycle in the past two weeks. They moved from the eastern part of the river, crossed west onto the Mara Triangle, then south into northern Serengeti and east from there before re-entering the Mara, crossing the Sand river south of Look Out Hill. Though some of the animals are entering the Mara near Naima-Lumbwa hill, the re-entry is not through the same point as they did in July when they first came. Looking down into northern Serengeti, just beyond the border, one can see thousands of animals on the plains heading north into the Mara.

Everything now on the migration front is just like last month when the wildebeest first got into the Mara. The highest concentration is around Look Out hill and eastwards along the central plains. The westward bound herds have spread out on the south and north of Look Out hill again, with many animals have started crossing the Mara River west. For the past three days, our guests have witnessed many animals crossing below Look Out hill. The animals are crossing over into the Mara triangle just as before and others heading north from lookout hill, with the first ones now around Olkeju-Rongai and lower Burrungat plains. The western concentration is around Oldoinyo Olkineji and south to the border of Serengeti, while others are heading to the escarpment.

Most of the herds here have settled temporarily on the short grass from a previous burning. The unseasoned rains have played a crucial role in the sprouting of the grass. The crossing points in the north around Paradise plains have been teeming with activity, with most animals crossing back and forth. The water in the river is quite shallow now, hence easy crossing by the animals. We are glad it is happening all over again.

While all these are going on in the south, the northern section of the park seems to have slipped into a brief quite period. The area around Musiara gate/marsh has only a handful of wildebeest whereas earlier in the month, this area was all covered with wildebeests. On the triangle as well, the northern section is still empty. Most of the herds on the Mara triangle are only from Olpunyata swamp and Kurao plains southwards. These herds have also been crossing at the Paradise crossing eastwards. We expect huge crossings at Paradise in the coming week when the animals will start crossing the river east to paradise plains.

There is still a lot of predation activities in the Mara even with the brief absence of the migrating herds from some areas. The Ridge pride of lions kept roaming their territory; two days ago they were just between the Olkiombo airstrip and the camp (Mara Intrepids). The Marsh pride is at Bila Shaka. They had killed a buffalo yesterday and all the 16 lions were there. All the other prides are also in their respective territories.

Leopard sightings improved over the past week as a couple of them were seen. On 27th July, a leopard believed to be Olive was seen carrying a cub in its mouth near Olare-Orok river crossing. She headed towards the junction of the river with the Talek where she has been seen quite often in the same locality fro the past few days. The cubs are still small and she must be hiding them some where there.

Cheetahs sighing were good too. Shakira is still in the location of the Talek river crossing back and forth.

Paul Kirui, Chief Safari Guide

Kindly contact: safariguide@mara-intrepids.co.ke for comments or inquiry on the migration and other interesting wildlifel sightings in the Mara, Rift Valley, Samburu and Tsavo West National Park