September Game Report, Masai Mara, Governors’ Camp – Part 2
As promised – here is our predator update for the Maasai Mara, courtesy of Governors’ Camp.
The core part of the Marsh Pride of lions has been happily lazing around the Musiara Marsh area this month. The pride is basically divided in two; the two males Romeo and Claude and four females, three of which are with young having three cubs each. The fourth female was sighted mating with both males at the start of the month, Romeo dominating as Claude the older lion is not in great condition. The sub-adult group is spending their time up near Mbila Shaka and on occasion come down to the marsh. There are five males and four females together with a lioness, Lispy. Lispy towards the end of the month came into season and ventured down to the marsh and picked out Romeo, a good choice, and commenced mating. The Marsh Pride have been hunting at night. The sub-adult males took down the old buffalo bull outside of Governors’ Camp which was a fair accomplishment even though he was in retirement and a little worse for wear. One of the more spectacular sightings seen below the marsh bridge was all of the sub-adults trapping a large male waterbuck in the water. The waterbuck held his own, facing off any attempts that were made toward it by the lions surrounding him. This started at dawn and went until well after lunch when the waterbuck bolted once the lions lost interest and lay watching.
The Ridge Pride is still doing well, staying up on the ridge where the wildebeest have been. They too had an interesting development; whilst on a walk, the three lionesses and four cubs came across a mother cheetah and her two adult cubs which they promptly chased for a while. In their excitement, they had not noticed the kill which the cheetahs had to leave in a hurry but wandered on. They then spotted a hyena which had just killed a young wildebeest and chased him of his meal and settled into their easily won prize.
The Paradise Pride is in great shape. Dominating a territory that encompasses the main crossing areas means they have food coming to them instead of having to pursue their prey. However, they choose to hunt at night and relax during the day, very rarely is this pride seen hunting during the day. The pride across the Mara river from them is very different. Often seen at the crossings hiding up in the croton bushes, they ambush the unsuspecting hoards of animals that have just tired themselves out swimming through the rapids. On one occasion a single lioness killed five wildebeest.
Notch has been seen on both sides of the river with his two prides, where his five sons have split and are seen east of the river up in the Croton bushes.
We have mostly seen the three cheetah boys this month who are not short of female admirers as other cheetahs have moved on.
There has been one female cheetah and her two nearly fully grown cubs near double crossing, she did come to Rhino ridge but was chased off by the Ridge Pride. This is probably why she spends her time further away.
One other female cheetah has been seen near the Talek River, once walking right by Olive the leopard.
Olive is still as relaxed as ever, giving guests amazing views of her near the Talek River in the Croton bushes. Her two cubs have moved on, leopards are not very tolerant of their cubs once they come of age, there are very rarely any free meals once they leave home. The two cubs are sticking together for the moment, they need to build up their confidence before they secure territories of their own.
The young male leopard from Olives’ previous litter is in a neighboring territory, he has been spotted a few times, once dragging a fresh wildebeest kill across the ground into cover.
The Il Moran leopard near Governors’ has rarely been seen as the Marsh Pride is so incumbent and she has retreated to the forest. A male leopard was sighted along the forest near the Little Governors crossing. Whilst waiting for a crossing one of our vehicles saw a female leopard being chased out of the adjacent bushes by baboons creating mayhem amongst the mounting herds of wildebeest. Once everything had calmed down, what presumably was an older cub ran out in pursuit of its mother and stirred the wildebeest into another state.
There are a couple of jackal dens upon the plains in old termite mounds, the youngsters are nearly fully grown but still dependant on their parents. At one site hyenas tried to dig out the young whilst the adults were running in and nipping at their behinds, the hyena soon ran off.
We also had two sightings of caracal in September which was very lucky, one mother had cubs too.
With the high season well underway the camps have been as busy as ever. We have also had wonderful sightings of game in camp with elephants putting in regular visits to all camps, much to the delight of guests. Elephant families have been making a habit of turning up at Little Governors’ Camp at lunchtime leaving camp staff to escort guests to a safe distance away to view these magnificent animals as they pass through camp!
Waterbuck and lion standoff courtesy of Daryl Black
Three cheetah brothers courtesy of Samuel Kiplangat
Leopard courtesy of John Knott
Jackal pups courtesy of Alex Millar