Lions of the Olare Orok

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Posted by Sara Blackburn at 9:23 PM

This week I’ve been spending time in the Olare Orok Conservancy (OOC). Lying along the southern border of the Mara North Conservancy and contiguous wit the Masai Mara National Reserve, the OOC is packed full of lions, despite its relatively small size. This month, Mara Plains and Kicheche Bush Camp have welcomed me to the conservancy to see how many lions I can find.

The week started well with a gaggle of young lions – nine of them dozing alongside a small lugga. One handsome young male stood out, together with a smart young female. The group was a real mixed bunch, with large cubs, sub-adults and one older lioness that was babysitting the crowd. We identified them as part of the Ngoyonai Pride who currently have a real stronghold within the conservancy.

OOC 191 copy
Our first find: the Ngoyonai Pride
The following evening, we ventured further north, happening upon yet more Ngoyonai members. A pair of smart lionesses were watching impala nearby a mating pair. The male was one of the pride’s pair who had overthrown the old boys the reign in the OOC, and this ruffian had all the battle scars to show for it. As darkness fell, the couple bellowed across the plains. Roaring is a lion’s way of locating other pride members, and also warning other lions in the area that they’re around.

Ensuring his genes are passed on is top priority for pride males

On day three, I found the other Ngoyonai male, also with his progeny on the agenda. This fellow was resting near the road, but he wasn’t alone. Rounding the bend of a heavily vegetated stream, I was met by a proud mother and her three young cubs. Timid but adventurous, the trio played around (and on!) their patient mother.

ngoyonai male
You can see why this smart male rules the roost alongside his brother
Mum’s the word
It’s certainly clear that the OOC is a real playground for lions. The Ngoyonai Pride are certainly on top form, with two strong males, plenty of breeding females and a whole host of youngsters, young and old. However, it’s not always been this way – just a few months ago, the Monico Pride reigned supreme. But with not a single Monico member in sight, it’s clear that things have been turned upside down in the OOC lion world.

Keep posted for more introductions to OOC pride members, and a look into why the Ngoyonais have gotten one up on the Monicos.