September 21, 2014
Mara Plains July Wildlife Report
“The beauty of nature forever surprises the human mind, for it is the one thing that we have no control over and the one thing that we are all drawn too”
Always remain humble, intrigued and inspired -
The month of July’s main attraction would be the welcoming of the masses of the infamous grey in colour, rather strange looking creatures… Our fellow wildebeest friends! The herds have been quite spread out over the vast grasslands, with thousands crossing over into the Trans Mara side as well as those near sand-river, close to the Tanzania border. Due to our very low rain fall this year the plains have not been too inviting for the herds, so by early July they started to head back south in search of greener pastures.. Luckily for us the saying “ the grass is not always greener on this other side” applies quite well in this case. Soon after the herds left we were thankfully blessed with some good showers around mid-July, with the herds quite south it was perfect timing as it allowed the new shoots to grow greener and more enticing. Shortly after the wildebeest, as they do best followed the rains and headed back North towards the conservancy where they were surrounded by fresh juicy grass for grazing. Over this period plenty crossings were witnessed by our guests as the herds crossed over more than once following the sporadic rains we seem to be having this year. The herds are now settled in the northern conservancies covering the green grass with little black “specks” across the land. We hope the rain continues as we enter into the Month of August, which will mostly definitely bring more excitement and eventful sightings..
The treacherous crossing over the Mara River – Photographed by Tim Clement
The conservancy prides have been very active over the last month, stretching their boundaries for prime hunting grounds. The Monico, Eseketa, Enkuyanai and Motorogi prides along with the double crossing males Mohawk and handsome have been very active in the conservancy, some of our guests and guides have counted over 50 different lions in just a few game drives.
The nine Enkuyanai sub adults have been trying their luck with everything including buffalo and giraffe. These young and confident lions are a hunting force to be reckoned with. They are slowly becoming more independent making kills on their own, slowly distancing themselves from their mothers and branching off into further grounds. The “Magnificent 7” made a short appearance back in the conservancy which caused a stir for a few days where one was seen looking over the body of an adult female lioness, which therefore made some believe it was them that did her harm. This was however false as we received confirmation this female was injured and later killed by hyena. May she rest in peace.
The Moniko pride as usual have been controlling the rocky escarpment area on the western boundary of the conservancy. This pride recently had a litter of seven cubs and have been the star attraction for our guests over the month of July. Special sightings of them play fighting together and running around in the mud puddles after some rain, have been a highlight.
One of the most eventful sightings this month was one of the sub-adult females who learnt her lesson the hard way. Lesson 101: What not to do to a pup hyena, when surrounded by the fellow clan members. This female decided that she was going to go after one of her number one enemies’ prize possession. She chased the pup into a small dam hoping to gain some advantage here. The pup tried to swim away but before running out on the other on the other side, they were both caught up as if playing a game and the lioness hit it with her powerful paw. At this moment fury was triggered and the whole clan of hyena descended on the sub-adult, she was given no mercy and struggled to get away. The hyenas were all over here and it was thought to be the end until she suddenly found a gap and ran for her life. The prides alpha female came for support and distracted the hyenas long enough to let her escape up a tree. This was a lesson well learnt and she was lucky to get away. Talk about curiosity almost killing the cat. She has been seen since and is doing well.
Double cross males:
Mohawk and handsome have been very active spreading the “loooove”, between the double cross and the Enkuyanai females in the conservancy. They have both been seen on “honeymoon” with several ladies and we hope to welcome some more good looking cubs into the conservancy. Handsome has most definitely caught the eye of many and it has even been discussed that he should have his own Facebook page, where we can all drool over his golden locksJ
These two large Kings of the savannah have been reminding us exactly how great they are with their powerful calls almost every night around camp. They have been getting increasingly comfortable in there northern territory here in the conservancy. As a consequence, small confrontations have been witness between the two and we are expecting more to follow in the coming months as these are the four dominant males of the area.
Ngura and Macho Moja (one eye)
Ngura was spotted with three new born cubs at the beginning of July. She was spotted her one afternoon moving off towards some wildebeest as if to hunt, but she ignored them as she walked off and found her nephew the sub-adult male Macho Moja (one eye). An interesting interaction between was viewed where Ngura approached her nephew and walked him back down the hill to a bushy area down into a “lagga”. Peering through the bushes were three 14 day old cubs. Their eyes barely open, all snuggled up to mum. Ngura introduced her nephew to the cubs which meant she now has more protection for them when she heads off to hunt. The cubs are offsring of our Mr. Handsome and she was hiding them close to camp in the territory of the blood-line in hope that her new borns would be safe.
Unfortunately luck was not on Nguras side again, as the Monico males were seen passing through this area after that they was not sight of these precious cubs and Ngura’s calls were unanswered from then on…
The first glimpse of life – Photographed by Shaun Mousley
Fig has again been the star attraction of the conservancy leopards as she has been spotted quite frequently in the area of hammerkop crossing towards rocky crossing and on her favourite Hammerkops nest. As we all know our darling Fig tends to stay low but when she wants to be seen she truly steels all the limelight. She continues to strut her stuff on the “cat walk” and is growing into a beautiful young lady. Fig has been seen pulling an impala up a tree and has not been short of food. There is talk that one of the large male leopards have their eye on her and have been trying to woo her in, for now she continues living her solitary journey and is doing so well.
Sprawled out over her favorite tree looking ever so glamourous – Photographed by Amy Rostance
On the topic of cubs… Acacia has been spotted with a new addition!!!! She has been seen around Kicheche in the rocky area grounds near a “lugga”. Acacia (mother of fig) has kept very quiet and has only appeared once or twice, showing the new to the outside world. Well Done Acacia for being such a great Mum, we look forward to welcoming one another one of your beauties to the conservancy!
With the great migration in full force and the abundance of game in the conservancy, we are at full capacity with lions. The cheetahs have therefore stayed very low profile (as I would too with over 70 lions around). We do hope that they appear again soon but for now here is a great picture of Amani and her almost full grown cub, hanging out on the typical termite mound..