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This Week At Angama #179

It’s high season at the lodge and everyone is running to and fro, but like time, the Mara waits for no one. To the relief of those of us sitting in cities with pigeons and pomeranians, here is our wildlife fix
Above: Enjoying the quiet moments of the Mara

With the Great Migration looming ever closer, it’s one of the last opportunities to appreciate the quiet moments in the Mara. This stillness is always a delight from the basket of a hot air balloon, but even on the ground, the mornings have offered up some truly peaceful moments. Luckily, Adam has provided us with some photographs.

Zebras bathed in early morning light f 5.0, 1/500, ISO 640, -0.67
Black and gold: setting adrift in the morning light f 5.0, 1/3200, ISO 400, -0.67
Going where roads won't take you f 5.6, 1/320, ISO 640, +1.4

Game drives have been very fruitful for guests who have had some close encounters with elephants, leopards and lions to name a few. The Mara might be known for its big open spaces, but there is something exhilarating about being in close quarters with these wild animals.

A curious elephant comes to see what all the fuss is about f 8.0, 1/200, ISO 800, +1.4
Sometimes big lenses and fancy cameras are left redundant f 3.5, 1/400, ISO 2500, +2.8
Capturing the experience of capturing the experience f 5.0, 1/250, ISO 800, +2.8
The Shepherd Tree Male pays the safari vehicle no mind as he goes about his day f 7.1, 1/1000, ISO 250, +5.6

It would pay well to be an optometrist in the Mara right now, with at least three lions needing a consultation this week. First up, we have the River Pride female whose eye was scratched badly in a fight, we presume. The Kenyan Wildlife Service had to step in and Dr. Limo removed her eye on the 21st of June. We were happy to see her out and about with a good prognosis. One-eyed lions have a remarkably high success rate which goes to show how incredibly strong their vision is to start with.

The River Pride female whose injured eye seems to be healing well f 6.3, 1/640, ISO 1000, -0.67

The next patient is Kibogoyo of the Bila Shaka coalition whose rather deranged look caught Adam’s attention. On closer inspection, this strangeness was due to the fact that one of his pupils is bigger than the other. This is known as anisocoria, a condition in which the pupils of the eyes are different sizes. There are a number of reasons that could explain this symptom, but either way, he is certainly looking a bit worse for wear.

Two images taken exactly a year apart show Kiboyogo's deteriorating of condition
Anisocoria aside, he has certainly seen better days f 4.0, 1/100, ISO 2000, +1.4

The last patient of the week is Chongo, whose bad right eye gave him his name (chongo literally meaning ‘bad eye’). An old injury, it’s obvious that it hasn’t had much of a negative impact on his life as he continues to thrive into his seventh year. For those interested in reading more about the different lions in the Mara read on here.

Chongo looks as good as ever despite his long-standing eye injury f 4.5, 1/800, ISO 500, -0.67

One animal with no ocular challenges is this three-year-old juvenile martial eagle, whose eagle-eyes left an open billed stork powerless. The martial eagle’s hunting technique relies heavily on its exceptional eyesight as it soars and hovers overhead before striking down on its prey. The Latin name of the martial eagle is Polemaetus bellicosus. ‘Bellicosus’ meaning warlike or fierce which is quite fitting for both its looks and its incredible hunting ability. The Mara Raptor Project banded this particular martial eagle in December 2018 near Main Crossing and has been monitoring it since with the aid of the Angama Foundation.

A martial eagle with its victim

The Angama Pride has learnt a lesson from the apex predator of the skies and has formed a habit of climbing trees – perhaps to get a better vantage point? ‘Tree-climbing-lions’ is an interesting phenomenon not often seen elsewhere. Despite having retractable claws (an absolute must for all ambitious tree-climbing cats), lions have not typically evolved to climb trees, with their size being the most blatant hindrance. Nevertheless, these lionesses manage to make their way up and perch quite contentedly amongst the leaves.

An Angama Pride lioness enjoying her new perspective f 4.5, 1/320, ISO 800, -0.67
'Tree-climbing-lions' is not often seen elsewhere f 5.0, 1/1000, ISO 640, +2.8
A lion's size and weight makes it quite a feat to climb trees f 4.5, 1/320, ISO 800, -0.67

With that, another week at Angama has wrapped. Who knows what next week will bring? We, the city-dwelling-nature-loving readers, wait in anticipation to find out.

This Week One Year Ago

Despite his best efforts, Kibogoyo leaves the party without a date f 5.6, 1/500, ISO 640, -0.67

Just one year ago we watched with amusement as Kibogoyo tried his best to woo two lionesses of the Mugoro Pride. It is a bit alarming to see the deterioration of his condition in just one year.

This Week Two Years Ago

The sun comes up with just a single Balanites tree to welcome it f 10.0, 1/2500, ISO 160

This week two years ago we were also enjoying the peaceful mornings of the Mara. However, it was even shorter-lived as the mega herds had already arrived.

Filed under: This Week at Angama

Tagged with:

Angama Foundation , This Week At Angama , Wildlife Photography

About: Charlotte Ross Stewart

Charlotte may be the youngest member of the team, but she is a storyteller wise beyond her years. Tasked with sharing the stories that flow out of Angama on social media, blogs and beyond, her love of people, literature and nature make this the perfect role for her.

Browse all articles by Charlotte Ross Stewart Meet the angama team

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