An Old Face

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Posted by Sara Blackburn at 11:40 PM

Last year, the River Pride contained three core females on the Serian side of the Mara River. Asali, Mandisa and Tailend were three sisters that we saw often, with all three females having litters close to camp. However, since March, no-one has seen these lionesses again. Last seen by Musiara and the Masai Mara Reserve, we lost track of our favourite trio and they fell off the map. Their favourite haunts around Maternity and Serian are now occupied by Sophie and Marley and the boisterous teenagers. Even though Tailend and Mandisa's cubs didn’t survive, Asali still had two healthy cubs.
After seven months of absence, I was beginning to worry about these girls. A few days ago I set out early one morning after getting a call from Dixon and Jonathan, two of our guides, that there were lions on Serian Hill.
Driving out of camp I found some familiar faces close to camp on Mulima Maui (Rocky Hill in Swahili) after tracing up from some spooked animals. Kahawa and one of Kioni's daughters were chilling out in the bushes. Happy with my I.D., I was about to head off when Dixon radioed through that there was a mother and two cubs close by.

tailend&cub Mother and cub in stride

Over the hill, and meters away from the lazy youngsters was Tailend, with two little cubs in tow. I was so glad to see her, and chuffed to see that she had new cubs of about She was munching on a baby Tommy, but looked like she was in a hurry, and after following her at a distance across two luggas and several kilometres, we lost sight of her. She looked very fit and healthy, and my thoughts are that she has been living across the river.

tailendeat Tailend and her two cubs, tucking in!

Mothers usually leave the pride for a number of weeks when they have new cubs, and so Tailend may be alone. However, I am optimistic that she will join up with her sisters soon, and hopefully on this side of the river. I’ve still got to find those girls!

tailendcubThis little one’s about 4-5 months old

I’m off to Laikipia now, but will keep you updated on our Mara lions when I return.