Tuesday, January 17, 2012
Posted by Sara Blackburn at 4:43 PM
Apologies to all who have enjoyed reading our blog, but have been without a new post for some time!
Tuesday, April 19, 2011
Posted by Sara Blackburn at 12:15 PM
On a training session with the guides from Serian Camp, I found Joy from the Three Graces eyeing a herd of impala within the Mara River treeline. She looked thin, and had better step up her hunting – she now has four three-month old cubs to look after, discovered by Nicholas Ratia, our reporting guide from Karen Blixen Camp. With the Marsh Pride clocking up over 20 lions in total – including many boisterous male teenagers – It’s no wonder she’s keeping her little ones at a distance. Matajo and Hasani, her older cubs, are now spending more and more time on their own, but have been welcomed by the main group. They’re certainly too young to be looking after themselves.
Next, we found the majority of the pride resting near the Musiara Marsh Windmill. We counted 15 lions in total – including Clawed and Romeo, the pride males. Clawed is really showing his age, and I don’t know how long this pair can hold their pride. I identified Charm, resting with her three large cubs, one intent on annoying Romeo, who wasn’t best pleased with his play-mate.
Siena, the third of the Three Graces, was sleeping within the group. Once a clear splinter group, it certainly appears that the trio have been formally accepter back in to the main pride. This is probably somewhat down to the loss of Red earlier last year, and now Lispy – with a large number of demanding cubs and youngsters, there are many mouths to feed. Certainly, many of the pride appeared rather thin.
White Eye and Bibi, the two remaining original Marsh Pride females, were the last adults to be identified by the Serian Camp guides. Jonathan Koikai quickly pointed out the unmistakable female with her missing eye.
Finally, we tracked down the young females that are Bibi, Lispy, Red and White-Eye’s older cubs. Still youngsters, the four girls were playing with two tortoises that they had found. Although lions can eat everything from mice to elephants, these hard cased critters proved too much for these inexperienced lionesses!
So it is now clear that we’ve lost Lispy. As a core female in the Marsh Pride for many years, it is certainly a loss. However, at the ripe age of 13, Lispy has been a successful mother for a decade, and has left behind some formidable descendants. With the reunion of the main pride and the Three Graces, I have little doubt that the Marsh Pride will continue to thrive as the best loved lions of the Masai Mara.
Tuesday, April 5, 2011
Posted by Sara Blackburn at 9:23 PM
The week started well with a gaggle of young lions – nine of them dozing alongside a small lugga. One handsome young male stood out, together with a smart young female. The group was a real mixed bunch, with large cubs, sub-adults and one older lioness that was babysitting the crowd. We identified them as part of the Ngoyonai Pride who currently have a real stronghold within the conservancy.
Saturday, March 5, 2011
Posted by Sara Blackburn at 7:22 PM
The culprits are the two gangs of young males – the River Pride males to the North, and the recent rulers, the Cheli and Peacock males, to the south. Originally from Lemek Conservancy, these three impressive lions came out of the blue to assert their dominance over the largest group of breeding females in the conservancy – the Cheli and Peacock Pride. Joshua, Jamal and Akiki overthrew Ajani, Samir and Shambe late lasdt year, but with little between the two trios, and less than a kilometre of no-man’s land between their territories, there’s been a fair number of scraps.
A few nights ago I found the River males at the end of the Cheli and Peacock lugga, deep into Joshua and co.’s territory. They were definitely looking for trouble.
Sunday, February 27, 2011
Posted by Sara Blackburn at 3:50 PM
Early yesterday morning, snorting zebra and wildebeest revealed the location of the lions strolling across the plains by the Musiara Airstrip. I counted eleven lions in total – several females and a gaggle of cubs of varying ages.
Saturday, February 5, 2011
Posted by Sara Blackburn at 7:32 PM
There is a lot of news to be shared. Some of you may be concerned that White Eye was dead, but I believe that she was seen yesterday with Romeo around the Musiara Marsh. This is fantastic news, as she plays an essential role in the pride, and is still producing healthy cubs. We still do not know who the dead lion was, found in the Marsh, and I suspect that it was a female from the Marsh Pride. It is important now to track down Lispy and Siena – Joy and Charm I believe have been seen healthy and happy. I’ll post news if and when I hear it.
In the conservancy, the Cheli & Peacock Pride are Rver Prides are doing well, each with their new males. The three brothers, Ajani – Shambe and Samir – have been pushed across to the River Pride territory, and have been spending time on both sides of the Mara River. Last night I found Ajani and Shambe striding across the plain in the darkness – a nice surprise!
There’s a lot of exploring to do to find our resident lions, so I’ll keep you posted with the developments. It’s good to be back in the Mara!
Sunday, September 12, 2010
Posted by Sara Blackburn at 4:43 PM
Wednesday, August 4, 2010
Posted by Sara Blackburn at 2:23 PM
Monday, July 19, 2010
Posted by Sara Blackburn at 11:23 AM
There are three camps in the Olare Orok Conservancy – Mara Plains, Porini Lion Camp, and Kicheche Bush. I’m hoping to get all three camps involved in lion monitoring – it’s an exciting time for the project and myself, and there’s certainly no shortage of simbas!
Shivani Bhalla, from the Ewaso Lion Project, has already been to Porini Camp to engage the guides in lion monitoring. Together with the guides she managed to identify some 50 individuals in the conservancy, which covers approximately 23,000 acres. Shivani does fantastic work in Samburu, working hard to save lions throughout the region. Please check out her work at www.ewasolions.org.
It’s going to be an interesting and action packed few weeks – it’s common knowledge that the two main prides – the Motorogi Pride and the Engoyonai Pride – are at war. It will be very interesting to find out just how many of the previously identified individuals remain in the area, and which pride comes out as the top cats. With the migration well under way and gazillions of gnu pouring in, there’s already plenty of activity on the plains.
A big thank you goes to the Richard and the staff at Mara Plains for the opportunity to work within the OOC. Watch this space for some new lion faces and exciting stories!
Thursday, June 17, 2010
Posted by Sara Blackburn at 3:35 PM
Monday, May 24, 2010
Posted by Sara Blackburn at 8:16 PM
Even though they generally occupy different habitats and specialize on different prey, lion and cheetah definitely don’t mix. On a hunt for lion, I came across three cheetah brothers who sometimes visit the MNC. These boys – Honey’s sons – are spectacular; they’re fit and healthy, probably owing to the fact that they hunt cooperatively. Looks like they’re learning a lesson or two from our social cats!
The cheetah suddenly became nervous, and I could soon see why. In the distance loomed two big male lions – a serious threat to the three sleek, thin-framed cats. Even though they’re the fastest animal on land, cheetah can still be outwitted by lion over longer distances.
The boys made a run for it, with the two males hot on their trail. I identified them as Samir and Shambe – two of the three boys who have been mating with Lilly, Sita and Nura from the Cheli Peacock pride. The males looked thin, and certainly weren’t going to tolerate the competition.
No sooner had the cheetah scarpered, then a strange lioness appeared. She approached with caution, but was greeted warmly by the pair. I identified her as Joy, one of the three Graces. Not only then are the Marsh Pride out and about in the MNC, but their sisters, the Three Graces, are paying a visit, too.
Joy still has two adolescent cubs, and isn’t ready to have another litter yet. But who knows if one of these boys will be the father of her next cubs? With Siena babysitting, the rest of the pride are still around the area. I’m off to go find them and see what else they get up to.
Thursday, May 20, 2010
Posted by Sara Blackburn at 4:42 PM
You can search for your lion using key identifying features
Friday, May 14, 2010
Posted by Sara Blackburn at 3:57 PM
Becky and Matt, two guests at Serian Camp, saw the event unfold. After finding Nura (Silver), the couple noticed a herd of buffalo surrounding a tree. The herd looked somewhat agitated, and so they went over to have a closer look. What should they find but a young male lion trembling precariously in the branches of a thorny acacia?
Sunday, May 9, 2010
Posted by Sara Blackburn at 4:50 PM
Just outside of Serian, Chemi-Chemi (the spring) is in the northern reaches of the Mara North Conservancy on the Mara River. It’s certainly some distance from the Musiara Marsh, which is why I was surprised to identify the lions as none other than the infamous Marsh Pride.
Four adults – Siena and Joy, Bibi and White Eye were lazing in the sun with Romeo and a whole assortment of cubs. Joy's two male cubs, now around 15 months old, and six cubs around 5 months old – four belonging to White Eye and two to Siena – were all happily playing in the long grass and exploring their new environment.
The pride have been slowly working their way into the conservancy, and have been spotted on a number of occasions. Although they are far from their home, the territory is open, as many of the River Pride lions are residing on the escarpment. Romeo too has visited the area often to mate with new females.
A lion’s pride territory is not as fixed as you’d think. Although lions spend a lot of time in a core area, prides rangers are large and overlapping. However, two prides will not occupy the same shared territory at the same time, and will advertise their presence to neighbouring prides by roaring.
The Marsh Pride is also in a state of flux – with Clawed (Mpengo) seemingly absent, Red no longer with us and the five sub-adults from the females’ last litters, the large family has split into a number of sub-groups. It seems that White Eye and Bibi are forming an alliance with the Three Graces – including Siena and Joy – whilst Lispy remains with the daughters of the pride. Lispy has also been seen flirting with two handsome chaps from the border of the Marsh. Perhaps Romeo and Clawed’s reign is facing an uncertain future?
However the pride forms, here’s hoping that the Marsh females will be as successful at raising this family as they were with the last. They’ve got a lot of experience on their paws!