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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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