It is the short rains season and we have been receiving a fair amount in the Mara the last few weeks. As a result, the landscape is slowly transitioning from warm earthy hues to a refreshing vibrant green.
Despite the life that the rains bring, not everyone is having it easy. When I last saw these three members of the Border Pride about six weeks ago, two sub-adult males and a female, one of the males had a rear limb injury. Unfortunately, the injury has not yet healed as he is still limping. When I caught up with them right at the border, none of them looked good at all.
These three lions seem to have been kicked out of the larger pride as they have reached the age to fend for themselves. Perhaps it was too early as they are malnourished to the point of being able to count the ribs on their shrinking bodies. The injury to the one male could be a contributing factor to their hunger but more so their inexperience in hunting. It is sad to see, but the nature of lion dynamics is survival of the fittest. We hope these young fellas find their footing in this wild and harsh landscape.
It was fun being kids, remember? The good old days when eating and playing is all you had to worry about. Risasi’s cubs have been making us nostalgic this week but taking it a step up, quite literally. They were spotted jumping up and down a tree and from the look of it, were having a great time. What could have these cute little cubs been saying to each other? 'Let’s see who jumps the furthest'! 'Okay, you go first'!
It is fascinating to see how much respect elephants are accorded by other animals — including lions. We watched as the Purungat Pride females gently moved out of the way to allow nearby elephants to pass. Their sheer size is intimidating enough to most animals. Soon after, the lionesses were on the move so we decided to stick around as they were eyeing some zebras in the distance.
Ruka, one of the Inselberg males, was laying in the vicinity a few meters away and moments later was also on the move. This had the potential to turn dramatic so we were keen to see what would unfold.
We noticed Ruka's stalking behaviour — keenly watching the females moving towards prey and he was following from a convenient distance. It was clear he was hoping the lionesses would make a kill and, as usual, he would bulldoze into the feast. Fortunately for the zebras, but unfortunately for Ruka, the lionesses decided to go for some shade instead of hunting as the day's heat was getting unbearable. Interestingly, when Ruka joined the pride for some shade as well, he was received with a bit of animosity but the lionesses calmed down soon after. Perhaps not interested in his patriarchal behaviour?
The following morning, we found out the Purungat females had downed a buffalo during the night. One of our guests managed to capture some great shots from the sighting and it seems Ruka was not invited to the feast.
Same blood but very different behaviours — this is the story of Nadallah and her mother. While we know Nadallah to be one of the most playful and bold leopards in the Triangle, her mom is quite the opposite as most leopards are, shy and very elusive. This week though, she was spotted flexing her tree-climbing skills not far from Angama while Nadallah was hunting a mongoose near Shieni bridge.
A strange looking creature but absolutely fascinating is the bat-eared fox. Like the name suggests, these creatures have unusually enormous ears in proportion to thier heads, just like those of bats. They are primarily nocturnal, emerging from their dens at dusk to feed on insects under the cover of darkness — hence why it's fairly difficult to spot them. Their ears are their most valued feature as they have incredible hearing capability. Apparently, they can hear larvae chewing their way out of a buried dung beetle ball. Mind boggling, huh? Guide Titus managed to capture some beautiful images of this hard-to-see species of fox.
We leave you this week with some lions looking as impervious as ever:
This time last year, the young males of the Sausage Tree Pride were getting to grips with their big game hunting skills as well as finding the most dramatic spots to rest and recuperate after all the effort that goes into killing not one but two buffalos.
Filed under: This Week at Angama
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