Mara Big Cat Update: 7th June 2005

The Cats’ Cradle
News from the World’s Most Famous Felines

Maasai Mara, Kenya
Here’s what has been happening to your favourite felines since Heritage Hotels’ last update from the Cradle of Humanity (and Big Cats) back in April:

The month of May was reasonably quiet in terms of game viewing in the Maasai Mara. Following the rains in April, the grass has grown tall and ”“ as is usually the case at this time of year ”“ most animals have moved to areas of shorter grass to avoid predators and to look for more nutritious young shoots. Although lion sightings have been limited, the Ridge Pride has been out in force, with all 10 cubs still roaming together in a territory that has been expanded east of Rhino Ridge and the plains north and south of Mara Intrepids/Explorer. So expansive has their territory become that they have now displaced the Olkiombo Pride, which used to reside along the Talek River east of our camps. The two prides had a violent confrontation last month, which resulted in one of the Olkiombo females succumbing to her injuries. With only a month to go before the true season of plenty begins, the Ridge pride looks set to dominate the entire region. Although there are a couple of nomadic males still trying to inch their way into this territory, they have no chance as the two dominant males are at their prime and will see off any intruders with ease. The Sekenani Pride, meanwhile, continue to be regularly spotted by our guests at Siana Springs just west of Sekenani Gate.

Leopard sightings have become scanty over the past month, with the long grass making it much harder to spot the elusive cats. You can easily drive past a leopard two metres from the road without knowing it. Our nearest and dearest star, Bella, is still around, and we often hear her roars at night. Her son, Chui, was seen only twice last month. Guests at Siana, however, were treated to several sightings of a female leopard and cub in the Kissinger area ”“ particularly up in the taller trees, from where the mother is often seen scanning the plains for potential prey.

Kike, our now legendary television star, continues to provide our guests with some fantastic close encounters. While most of the Mara’s other cheetahs have followed the herds outside the park, Kike continues her allegiance to Rhino Ridge, where she always seems to be able to find something to eat! Her cubs have also established themselves along the Talek River to the east of Mara Explorer and west of Talek Gate, where there are still some small herds of gazelle, impala and topi. Still together and even stronger, they are now chasing ever larger antelopes ”“ and giving our guests a wild feast of experiences in the process!

Other Big Sightings
The female elephant with twin calves has moved towards Sekenani Gate, where they have treated guests at Siana Springs to several sightings over the past two weeks. Musa, Siana’s head guide, says this is the first time in living memory that a pair of elephant twins have been spotted in the world’s most famous game reserve.