Marley, Kioni and her four cubs have been resident around Maternity and the nearby luggas for some time now. They’re definitely the lions to watch, as with the four youngsters growing up quickly, there’s never a dull moment with the bunch.
Monday saw the group feeding on a fresh wildebeest kill early in the afternoon – they must have brought down the animal not long after midday. This shows that the little pride is growing in confidence – to bring down a large wildebeest in daytime hours and in the heat of the day requires skill and teamwork.
The cubs are really cheeky, in particular one of the little girls, who didn’t think twice about pushing Marley over for the best bits! Even some bad tempered growling didn’t deter her. Although their bellies looked fit to burst, they all continued to make the most of their kill before the scavengers set in.
I headed back over the the site of the kill early next morning, whereby the carcass had been thoroughly polished off. Jackals, hyenas and vultures had all worked through the night to leave only the horns and tail. With so many keen eyes, most kills last little time in the Mara, and even the bones are tasty morsels for hyenas.
Last night we picked up the group again in the next lugga down. Marley was nowhere to be seen, and Caesar had joined the group. I don’t think Caesar is a threat to Marley, as they are often seen together. Having been over 48 hours since their last substantial meal, the lions were in hunting mode and making a move on warthogs and gazelles. The cubs aren’t exactly perfect yet, ruining most hunts either by breaking too soon or hesitating during the chase, but certainly have the enthusiasm – they should become formidable hunters when they mature.
In the middle of trying their luck on the local game, the cubs entertained themselves by climbing trees and annoying Caesar and Kioni. We left them heading towards Maternity as a huge storm rolled in overhead. Perhaps tonight they will have some more luck hunting.