Kicheche’s Stars

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Posted by Sara Blackburn at 4:10 PM

This week I’ve been busy catching up with some familiar faces in the Kicheche Pride area. The Kicheche Pride has almost 30 members, who form small groups to enable them to hunt successfully. You’d have to catch a lotta wildebeest to feed that lot!
It was nice to see some of the lions I know, and also meet some new ones. Since I saw her mating some time ago, Arria has teamed up with a new lioness (christened Manzy) to have five cubs between them. They are around 2 to 3 months of age, and a real joy to watch.

claws Hey! I thought I said no claws!

Manzy is certainly a pretty lioness, and has very characteristic ear notches. I’ll post her profile soon within the Kicheche Pride at www.livingwithlions.org/mara so you can see her beauty from all angles!

manzy Manzy – a beautiful lady.

I also caught up with Blackie, who is the largest male in the pride. He is still young at around 3 years old but looks very impressive for his age. Kinna, who I also saw, is the same age as Blackie, which shows you the huge variation that can occur between lions. Kinna was mating with Shemsa and Blackie was also courting a new lioness, which is rather unusual for their age. Sangiki was also with Kinna – she has the end of her tail missing so isn’t hard to spot!

snarl Kinna mating. Thanks to Rachael for this fabulous photograph!

tension
Blackie’s lady wasn’t really in the mood!

I also caught up with a group of nine including Cleopatra and River. These are both older lionesses. Cleopatra is easy to identify as she looks like she is wearing eye makeup! River’s cubs are now grown up – the three girls and little boy are really fun to watch. Cleopatra also now has three new little ones, and so this group has lions of all shapes and sizes.

greetCleopatra's family.

The group are very playful, but soon slinked off into the lugga to get some kip. They need it, too – with nine hungry mouths to feed, this pair of elegant lionesses certainly have their work cut out. Indeed, one of them was seen stalking a wildebeest later on that day.

chase2 Can’t catch me!!

After three action packed days it was time to head home. On the way home I passed Caesar still looking after his girls, and so I’m dashing off now to meet up with the old boy.
More soon,
Sara
P.S. I’ve had some emails about the comments form – you should now be able to leave a comment at the top right column of the blog. Thanks for letting me know!

Caesar’s new girls

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Posted by Sara Blackburn at 5:47 PM

With the River Pride girls away and Marley and Kioni being rather elusive at present, Caesar has taken the opportunity to get more acquainted with the locals at Elephant Pepper Camp. Located across the main road from the Ereyet Angopito lugga where Kioni spends most of her time, the area has a resident group of three females and their seven cubs. The cubs are around 18 months old, and so some of the females are coming into season. Last night was pretty interesting, with a huge buffalo giving the lions a hard time. The lions certainly knew when to stand down!

caesarbuffalo Caesar keeps an eye on the old brigadier

The cubs are at no risk from Caesar – new males will often kill younger cubs to encourage their mothers to mate. I did not witness their first meeting, but the girls certainly seemed to like the big male, with Silver flirting outrageously! Pride males will travel between groups when females come into season, and the Elephant Pepper pride have no resident male with them.

silver Silver seems very fond of her man!

I have seen Silver mating several times with Caesar, and the Serian guides have also reported that the other females Lilly and Siti have mated with him too. Females will often come into season around the same time, which gives their cubs the best start in life with maximum protection and strength in numbers. Although lionesses keep their cubs hidden for the first few weeks of their life, they are quickly introduced to the rest of the pride and all females work to raise the family. Most of the lionesses within the pride will be aunts or sisters of the little ones.

maleThis young male will leave his natal pride when he is around 3 years on age.

If all goes well, the cubs will be born in around 10-12 weeks. By this time the other cubs will be around 2 years old, and still reliant upon their mothers somewhat. It is likely that the young males will not be tolerated for much longer afterwards, and so may form a coalition and leave the group. The young girls will remain with their mothers or also leave to form a splinter group.

Sara