Heritage Hotels Big Cat and Migration Updates

Wildlife sightings - March

by Heritage

29 March 2010

Maasai Mara

The weather has changed again making for excellent game viewing. The skies are clear from morning to evening. The red-oat grass is a meter and half tall, only suitable for elephants and buffaloes because they can see the predators from afar.

A good number of streams, luggas and rivers can be crossed to other parts of the reserve except for the Talek River. There is only one main bridge, which is passable. The other weathered crossings are still impassable as there is a lot of sand deposition in them. To access down south from Mara Intrepid, one has to go through Talek Gate.

PLAIN GAME CONCENTRATION

Due to the heavy rains, there’s food for all the herbivores, which has triggered the rutting season for elephants and topis. It’s because of this phenomenal that we are seeing many herds of elephants around Olkiombo. The topis are also forming groups in their localized breeding grounds in Topi Plains and Paradise Plains. There’s good game viewing to the east of Mara Intrepids towards the Masai villages where the grass is short due to over grazing by the Masai cattle.




PREDATORS SIGHTING

LIONS

The lion sightings are good but the prides are starting to split into small groups because of the prey availability. The Olkiombo Pride has separated in to four groups: The lionesses with cubs are avoiding the males because they might steal the prey leaving the cubs and females hungry. The four sub adult-males are starting to leave the pride, but there is not much to hunt. The young cubs might suffer and be abandoned by their mothers if there is not enough food to provide. The three adult males are alone and avoided by the females.
The Paradise Pride is coming up strongly with six adult males, which have been killing hippos. This is enough source of food to sustain the whole pride.

LEOPARDS

Leopards’ sightings have been around Olkiombo and along Talek Olare-Orok Rivers.

Olive, one of the BBC Big Cat Diary film stars, has been roaming between Mara Explorer and Mara Intrepid camps, with her two eight-month-old male cubs. She has been hunting warthog piglets, impalas and Bohor reedbucks. The Ridge male who is the father of Olive’s cubs is between Olare Orok and Rhino Ridge.

Big Boy who is the father of Olive’s other three sub adult cubs - Aya, Binti and Kali - is seen between Talek and Mara River. He was seen with an adult warthog kill up on the tree. He has is sharing the territory with his son Kali. Whenever Big Boy crosses Mara River in to the Mara Triangle, Kali takes over that section of the territory. When Big Boy returns to the Narok side, Kali moves towards Rekero Camp.

CHEETAHS

We have eight cheetahs around Rhino Ridge. There are the three male brothers from Honey, a solitary female. There is also a female with a cub of 11 months and a female with a cub of five months. They are found in one area because of the availability of prey.

John Parmasau, Safari Guide, Mara Intrepids

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Wildlife sightings - February

by Heritage

29 March 2010

Following the heavy rains in the Mara, it’s been quite a challenge to drive to some parts of the reserve because of the black cotton soil which becomes a sticky mess.

Fortunately, the mornings are superb - clear skies with the sun shining but changing to clouds and rain in the afternoons and night. The rivers, like the Talek, have filled up making it difficult to reach some areas. The grass is about a meter high and therefore the herbivores are avoiding these areas because they prefer short grass which makes it easier for them to spot the predators. Most of the animals are found on the short grassed Topi Plains between the Mara Intrepids and Musiara, Paradise Plains, Talek River and Lookout Hill. These are the topis, gazelles and the impalas. And where the prey goes the predators must follow. The big game like the elephants and buffalos are found on the long grass plains because they can easily spot the predators. Towards the east of the reserve the plains are over grazed by the Maasai cattle

Predator Sightings

Lions

Lion sightings have been very good, with all the four big prides seen between Mara Intrepids and Musiara.

The Olkiombo Pride now numbers 31 individuals consisting of 15 cubs, nine females, four sub-adult males and three mature males. They have been hunting solitary buffalo bulls.

The Olkeju Ronkai Pride has 14 members and has been roaming around the Olkiombo Plains, between Talek and Olare-Orok Rivers south of Mara Intrepids camp. This pride has also been hunting solitary buffalo bulls.



The Paradise Pride, which is the strongest with six mature males, nine females and 14 cubs of different ages, has been sighted most of the times feeding on hippos. The hippo victims are those that are easy to hunt such as the males that have been injured in fights with other male hippos over territories.

The Musiara also called the Bila Shaka or the Marsh Pride has been following prey to the Mara Conservancy adjoining the reserve. The pride now numbers 25 individuals.

Leopards
Leopards have been sighted around Olkiombo, along the Talek ”“ Olare Orok Rivers.
Olive, the BBC Big Cat Diary film star, has been seen roaming between Mara Explorer and Mara Intrepid camps, with her two 8-month-old male cubs. She has been hunting warthog piglets, impalas and Bohor reedbucks. The Ridge male who is the father of Olive’s cubs is between Olare-Orok and Rhino Ridge.

Big Boy who is the father of Olive’s three older cubs who are now sub adults - Aya, Binti and Kali is found between Talek and Mara River. A recent sighting of him was with an adult warthog kill up on the tree. He’s sharing territory with his son Kali. Whenever Big Boy crosses the Mara River and in to Mara Triangle, Kali takes over that section of the territory. When daddy returns, Kali moves towards Rekero Camp.

Cheetahs

We have eight cheetahs around Rhino Ridge because of the abundance of prey. There are three male brothers whose mother is Honey; a solitary female; a female with a cub of 11 months and a female with a five-month-old cub. Due to the big number of newly born Thomason’s gazelles, the five-month-old cheetah is under intensive training from his mother.

John Parmasau, Safari Guide, Mara Intrepids

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