The sight that never gets old, that drive down the escarpment towards the Triangle, is just as magical as ever. The sun peeking over the horizon illuminating with golden light, the mist still lingering in the air before it warms up, the gentle breeze swaying the tall grass and the sounds of African wildlife. Birds chirping in the air, while other sounds come with a hint of danger but the promise of a potentially good sighting.
This particular day started off a bit slow and I decide to venture into the Egyptian Pride territory in the hopes of seeing its tiny little additions. The long grass, for now, proves to be a challenge as you could be merely metres away from a cat and not see a thing as they blend in so well. But above the ground, the queen of the savannah surveys her territory basking in the sun. This is where she stashes her tiny cubs away from other predators atop one of the Inselbergs.
Not far from this Inselberg, I found Slit Lip, one of the Inselberg Males. It’s been a while since I last saw the other members of the coalition: Manywele, Nusu, Ruka and the last unnamed male. He’s a bit skinny but looking much better than when I saw him last and I imagine he must have fed recently which is really good news. I also noticed that he is walking with a slight limp from his left back leg, probably injured from a recent hunt.
As it started warming up, we watched as he limped his way slowly to one of the nearby bushes away from the heat. Right behind him, the female that I had spotted earlier above the Inselberg, had come down and was watching Slit Lip closely.
It pays to be good at reading animals’ behaviour and having a keen eye, as often a prey animal broadcasts the presence of a cat. I was almost gone before I noticed a secretary bird looking extremely edgy. My first thought was most likely a snake, as it is what typically excites them. A huge snake probably as the bird was not carrying out its usual stomping action to secure a meal. Curiosity got the better of me and behold, the Salt Lick Female Cub was playing hide and seek in a burrow. I found it a bit odd and a vulnerable position to be in as she was quite literally a sitting duck in that burrow if a lion ever happened to come close.
This surprise encounter with the leopard had her bolting out of the burrow and immediately she realised she would be broadcasting her location to close-by potential prey. Needless to say, respect and space must always be given to all animals you come across and eventually, she felt comfortable enough to crawl back into the burrow.
The one that got away, that one lucky warthog that held its nerve against the most revered of predators. This happened deep in the Border Pride territory where this 10-member pride were hard at work trying to get to a warthog inside a burrow. A failed attempt at hunting saw the warthog make a lucky escape into a deep enough burrow and the lionesses could not get to it. With the heat of the day at its peak, common sense prevailed and they eventually gave up to seek shelter.
I was most excited this week to see the Owino Pride, a small group territorial to the south of Angama Mara along the Ololoolo Escarpment. I haven’t seen this pride for quite some time now, as Adam explains to me that the last time he saw them they numbered four lionesses and a sub-adult male. I found three lionesses and the sub-adult male, all looking good.
The old guard nowadays makes a constant appearance as the streak of excellent leopard sightings continues in the Triangle. Never intimidated by the presence of cars and people around him, it makes him the favourite and most photographed cat. The legend of the Triangle himself, we call him the Shepherd Male. May he live long.
The preparation for the next Migration is underway as some sections of the Triangle undergo controlled burning thus stimulating the growth of fresh grass. This is a rotational burning to ensure different areas have enough time to grow and mature for a thriving ecosystem.
This time last year, Douggy's creative eye was drawn to a journey of giraffe whose symmetry delighted and intrigued him.
Filed under: This Week at Angama
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