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This Week at Angama #256

As the year draws to a close, it's the end of another volume of This Week at Angama. And rather fittingly, we're witnessing a new generation take centre stage
Above: A tangle of hooves and claws

Most lions rely heavily on each other in hunts and raising their cubs. But not this one — the lone survivor of the Angama Pride with four little mouths to feed. She is a master huntress, her technique and patience perfected over the years, trained by Mama Kali. We came upon her in her ambush, crouching flat on the ground inching closer to her prey.

F 7.1, 1/2500, ISO 1250 | Robert Sayialel

Her target: a dazzle of zebras busy feeding without a clue of the imminent danger. My heart raced as I put the camera to the best settings to capture the inevitable display of power and speed that was about to unfold right in front of us. When she reached her optimal striking distance, she made a characteristic jiggle to get maximum traction for a good take-off. Click — she leaped in the air, muscles bulging, eyes locked, tail stretched out.

F 7.1, 1/3200, ISO 800 | Robert Sayialel

It took just three strides before she landed on the back of a stallion who was too late to make a run for dear life. With claws bared like daggers, she locked onto her striped prize. The dance of life and death ensued, the stallion kicked and bucked while whinnying, but there was no escaping her tight grip. Round and round they went until she managed to wrestle the zebra down, aiming for the throat. Then it was over.

F 7.1, 1/3200, ISO 800 | Robert Sayialel
F 7.1, 1/3200, ISO 640 | Robert Sayialel
F 7.1, 1/3200, ISO 800 | Robert Sayialel

In another part of the Triangle, much to our delight, the Owino Pride has a single cub. The last time I saw this small pride they numbered four in total, two adult females and two sub-adults, a male and female. The pride has successfully protected their sub-adult male, as they are surrounded to the south by Lamai males, to the east by the six Nyati males and to the North by the Bila Shaka males.

F 8, 1/500, ISO 800 | Wilson Naitoi
F 5.6, 1/500, ISO 800 | Wilson Naitoi

With plenty of rain falling almost every day now in the Mara, the land has soaked enough water, and the landscape has transformed into a lush green. Game drives can be tricky as some tracks are better avoided due to mud, but the sightings remain just as good. These little elephants are certainly having a good time in the wet green grass.

F 10, 1/125, ISO 320 | Robert Sayialel
F 5.0, 1/1250, ISO 640 | Robert Sayialel
F 7.1, 1/1000, ISO 640 | Robert Sayialel

We are having so much fun tracking the lion cubs in almost every corner of the Triangle at the moment and have yet to establish the exact number of cubs in each pride. Right at the border of Kenya and Tanzania, the Border Pride were taking in the midday sun atop a rock outcrop with their cubs. We can count three and have word that there are more.

F 8, 1/1000, ISO 800 | Jeremy Macharia
F 8, 1/500, ISO 250 | Jeremy Macharia

We also spotted three little cubs from the Purungat Pride but knew there were more hiding in the grass. Their teddybear faces are too cute for words and they're being well fed by mom, making them grow quicker than we would like.

F 14, 1/800, ISO 2000 | Robert Sayialel
F 20, 1/500, ISO 800 | Wilson Naitoi

Of course, there's also the Angama Pride whose sole female we mentioned earlier in her epic zebra hunt. Her four cubs are closer to our hearts than most, if it's even possible, as they are the new foundation for the pride on the brink.

F 8.0, 1/1250, ISO 4000 | Sammy Njoroge

It's not only the lions who are getting carried away with babies. We have baboon siblings babysitting here, Thomson's gazelles giving birth there — it really is a lovely time of renewal, and just in time for the new year.

F 9, 1/1000, ISO 320 | Sammy Komu
F 6.3, 1/800, ISO 400 | Eric Lemaalo
F 6.3, 1/800, ISO 400 | Eric Lemaalo

This Week a Year Ago:

Adam Bannister

As we said goodbye to 2021 last year, Adam predicted a drama-filled 2022 for the lions of the Mara. He couldn't have been more right as we look back on the ups and downs that all the prides have faced this year. Can we expect a more peaceful 2023? With the new characters that we have slowly begun to know, it seems unlikely.

Filed under: This Week at Angama

Tagged with:

Lions of the Mara , Maasai Mara , Photographic Safari , Wildlife Photography

About: Robert Sayialel

A passionate photographer and videographer, Robert started his career working with Amboseli Trust for Elephants in Amboseli National Park, close to where he was born and raised. He honed his skills photographing the famous big Tuskers and travelling with guests through Kenya’s National Parks, documenting their safaris. A kid at heart, some say he never stops smiling.

Browse all articles by Robert Sayialel Meet the angama team

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Comments (1):

Francis Bagbey

4 January 2023

Keep up the great work you do writing, editing, and compiling each and every This Week at Angama. Most of the photos are simply amazing, touching, endearing, troubling, sad, hopeful. Happy New Year to all at Angama Mara and Angama Ambolosi (misspelled I know). Cheers! Francis

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