Changing Scenes

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Posted by Sara Blackburn at 5:17 PM

So I’m finally back in the Mara North Conservancy after spending some time in the UK developing a new lion database. Hopefully everyone will find it easy to use, and enjoy it, too. I’ll let you know when it goes live.
Things have changed in the MNC – the rains are here, and everywhere the grass is green and lush, and rather long. It’s a bit of a challenge getting around. There’s a distinct lack of grazers both here and in the reserve, but leopard and hyena numbers are at an all time high. As for the lions, there’s some familiar faces around, most prominently the Cheli sub-adults, who are up to no good as usual…

punch Maskio (meaning ‘ears’) and Amber play rough

No way I’m going to lie on the muddy floor and mess up my fur!

The lion scene is changing, too. Marley’s group has split, interestingly, and the younger cub Mtoro and his pride-mate Maji have joined up with Cheli cubs. Kioni, Marley and the other youngsters haven’t been seen for a while, and there is no clue as to why Mtoro and Maji are now on their own.
It’s highly unusual for unrelated lions to join another group, and I’m still not sure what the true outcome of this pairing will be. Yesterday morning, Mtoro was on the receiving end of a little bullying, but in the afternoon, everyone was snoozing together quite happily. Sebastian and Rescue are already looking impressive, and good on these young lions for doing so well without mum.

Mtoro (right) with Rescue and Sebastian (standing).

In other news, an elephant carcass brought in predators and scavengers far and wide. Together with the drizzle it made for an interesting – if somewhat grisly – photography opportunity. I’m now armed with a video camera, so hopefully there will be some videos coming this way before too long.

willima Poor Mtoro's a little lost. He’s been through two mums already.

Three new males turned up at the scene of the crime, none of whom I recognized. Males of around 4 are usually on their own or in a coalition of other males before they manage to win over their own pride. In a couple of years they should be in their prime. I’ll try and get some photographs of these boys soon.
More soon. It’s good to be back!