The Marsh Pride’s Family Vacation

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Posted by Sara Blackburn at 4:50 PM

This morning I drove out of camp to be met by a gang of thirteen very special lions. Within the bunch was a number of youngsters, along with some familiar faces.
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.

How many lions?!

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.

climb The cubs practiced their tree climbing skills amongst the Acacia

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.

White Eye the one-eyed lioness. A caring mother but also a fierce hunter

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!