It’s a little embarrassing, but we never get tired of big cats. No matter how many times we go on safari and try to pretend it’s no big deal whether we see cats or not, the thrill returns anew when we come upon any of them in the bush. So, to get our fix while we’re not in Africa, we checked in with our friends at Governors’ Camp in Kenya to see what’s been going on with the lions, cheetahs and leopards, oh my!
The Marsh pride currently consists of 4 males, commonly known as the ‘musketeers’ – Scar, Morani, Sikio and Hunter. 8 lionesses and 15 cubs of varying ages currently reside within Bila Shaka, Musiara Marsh and the Musiara Plains.
Siena, Charm and Bibi and their 12 cubs are within the Marsh, airstrip and the Musiara plains. Bibi’s 3 cubs that are six months old, Charms three cubs are eight months old and Siena’s cubs are now 12 months old.
One lionesses of the first group of four breakaway sisters has three cubs that are now five months old they were born in a riverbed off Bila Shaka called Silanga, a few months ago she was finally chased off by the marsh pride females, they are being seen near the east side of Rhino ridge in an area called Naibor soit she is with Modomo. These cubs were sired by one of the Four Musketeers.
There is a young lioness called Musiara that often is with Siena and Bibi, the four breakaway lionesses Jicho, Lippy, Kinny and Sila have been seen near the Windmill and western Marsh grass areas, they have also been seen north of the Windmill in Masai land. The main Marsh lions have been feeding of the resident Buffalo as part of their main diet; at one stage they were killing a buffalo nearly every three days!!
The Musketeers are the energy behind the action and the Lionesses and cubs follow soon after the animal is down, Scar is a strong and dominant male and also seems to be the one in the front line. The Four breakaways have been also feeding off buffalo and waterbuck. On the 18th at Bila Shaka there was a dramatic situation with the Musketeers pulling down a large bull buffalo; scar at the helm showed his determination.
On the 28th in Masai land north of the windmill the Musketeers had brought a buffalo down early in the evening of the previous day. By 8am the four breakaways were seen feeding off the remains of this buffalo.
On the 20th late in the evening the Musketeers and the marsh Lionesses had killed a Buffalo north of the Musiara gate near the croton hill. On the 21st the KWS veterinary team had the opportunity to dart Scar and treat his eye. He had a fracas with Hunter earlier on in the month and managed to open his right eyelid again. We called the wildlife vet and by 9am on the 21st he had arrived with a vehicle sponsored by the Daphne Sheldrick Wildlife Trust.
Scar’s brother Sikio was still with the remains of the Buffalo when we darted Scar, we had to barrier him off from the other males lest he growled in pain from the dart which can bring on the other less dominant males. Scar hardly made a noise when the dart went into his left shoulder; and he took around 35 minutes to go down. Sikio in the meantime spent all his time chasing vultures and the lioness Musiara. The rest of the pride including hunter left the scene very quickly.
Scars wound was cleaned and treated with antibiotics. Interestingly, Scar is a very healthy animal with no ticks on his body and no infection in any of his wounds, his mouth and teeth were clean; by looking at his teeth it was suggested that he is between 5-6 years old. Scar has been treated on four occasions now, when the vet and his vehicle drove up Scar instantly recognized this car and went and hid in a croton thicket, we had to use an alternate car so that he could be darted and would not be upset.
Malaika and her 13 month old male cub were seen near the double crossing area. She came up as far as Naibor soit earlier on in the month; she frequents the short grass plains in conservation areas and close by to the Ntiaktiak River. Good sightings of her were on the 26th and 27th near the top end of the Ntiaktiak river.
The MNC female has been seen frequently in the conservation area north of the windmill, this female is a very successful hunter and each morning recently she has been seen either eating or looks well fed. Her male cub was seen near Musiara last month and was last seen near the Musiara gate walking towards the conservation area.
The (BBC) female Leopard now named ‘Romi’ with her one cub who is seven months old has been seen on a regular basis. The riverine woodlands near to the BBC campsite are good places to see them. We had a good sighting of them on the 23rd in the Warburgia woodlands near the Hippo pools and again on the 27th near Il Moran Camp. She was seen feeding off a young bushbuck on the 21st and an impala on the 25th. Although she is under pressure from baboons and the breakaway lionesses particularly near the Hippo pools area of the Mara River, recently this female has been seen more frequently near the BBC campsite. A good sighting of Romi and her cub was in the evening on the 28th near the BBC camp.
Game Report written by Patrick Reynolds, Il Moran Camp Manager.
Photo Courtesy of Greg Harvey at Governor’s Camp