(Nkuhuma cub takes break from eating, Screenshot Credit: Anna McDougald, safariLIVE, Chitwa)
It’s always a treat to see this well-loved pride and today was no different. When WE arrived the cubs were being lead to a recent kill to feed; the youngsters, who always manage to steal the scene with their lighthearted antics, were exercising their ever increasing skills of carcass dissection. The sub-adults were playfully picking on the smaller cubs in what appeared to be a show of familial camaraderie. The good news that surfaced from this slighting was that the lioness who had previously been seen with an injury to her hip seemed to be healing quite nicely; the bad news was that there were only two cubs visible and that the whereabouts of the third has become a bit of a mystery.
(Cheetah cubs quench thirst, Screenshot Credit: MaryAnn, safariLIVE, Chitwa)
UNKNOWN CHEETAH AND THREE CUBS
No one would have been blamed if they thought that Tristan had been miraculously transported to the Mara on Sunday, for who would have thought WE’d see four cheetahs sauntering into Djuma. Excitement has rarely been more intense on SafariLIVE as WE raced to the scene to find a mother and her three sub-adult cubs nervously taking in their new surroundings. WE were able to identify two of the three young ones as males and while the gender of the third cub is still in question, what is without question is the awe WE have all expressed that a cheetah would be able to raise three cubs to this age with so many predators lurking. Undoubtedly, WE all hope that these cheetahs will become familiar faces on SafariLIVE.
(Stretching after an accidental dip in the water, Screenshot Credit: Gabi Hossain, safariLIVE, Chitwa)
Hosana began the month displaying the antics WE’ve begun to expect from the young orphan. When checking on the baby hippo, WE couldn’t help but laugh to discover that Hosana had made the same plans for his afternoon. From atop of a tree hanging over the water, the leopard was watching, stalking, appeasing his seemingly relentless curiosity. WE were simultaneously entertained and worried; while it is always a pleasure to observe two animal species interacting, the adult hippo posed a serious potential threat to the leopard. Our fears were finally put to rest as Hosana clumsily fell into the water and then immediately jumped expertly back into his position into the tree. The stumble encouraged Hosana to give up his game and begin the process of cleaning his very muddy paws.
(Quarantine takes a break from his piglet snack, Screenshot Credit: CodytheCelt, safariLIVE, Chitwa)
Tristan has finally been able to join the ranks of SafariLIVE veterans this Thursday morning for he has officially met all of Karula’s offspring. He arrived to find Quarantine himself mid- meal, or snack rather, as the elusive leopard was just finishing off a small warthog piglet. Still not full, WE watched as Quarantine made his way to a nearby termite mound where he presumably was hoping to finagle seconds. His presence confirms that the territories of Sabi Sand’s sleek cats are in a constant state of flux, as Quarantine was spotted in areas often frequented by dominant male Tingana.
(A young lion eyes the vehicle, Screenshot Credit: SierraMinnesota, safariLIVE, Maasai Mara)
The cubs and sub-adults were on their own when WE strolled up along side of them and while they didn’t get into too much mischief while the lionesses were away it was heartening to watch them play and explore. A few attempted to ascend trees, one brave soul warily approached the vehicle and others were taken aback by the safari ants lining the road.
(A sub-adult tries its luck with a giraffe, Screenshot Credit: MaryAnn, safariLIVE, Maasai Mara)
WE were able to spend most of the morning with the Paradise Pride which proved to be rather fortuitous as the pride had a rather interesting start to its day. The pride seemed to be in a relaxed state, enjoying the cool morning air with an alert; A similarly relaxed member of the Musketeer Coalition was located nearby. Unexpectedly, one of the lionesses began to contact call, bringing the group to attention. Then, the lioness began marching the pride toward the river, Musketeer in tow. The behavior initially seemed a bit odd until WE noticed lone lioness on the opposite shore. This lioness, who had small cubs with her, had clearly been separated from the rest of the pride when they had crossed the croc infested waters. While it was obvious that the pride had hoped to reunite, the scaly reptiles prevented it. While this was a mildly unfortunate end to the sighting, our moods brightened when WE later spied a few of the pride’s sub-adults chasing giraffe. While the continent’s tallest animal seemed annoyed by the youngsters’ frolics, WE could not help laughing at the unintentional comedy.
(Another successful hunt, Screenshot Credit: Joy, safariLIVE, Maasai Mara)
THE MUSKETEER CHEETAH COALITION
That there is a coalition of five cheetahs that calls the Mara home still manages to defy belief; to get to see them in action is truly unforgettable. Four of the Musketeers were meandering through a herd of wildebeests and topi, taking in all the possibilities until the instinct to hunt took over and the coalition sprang into action. A large topi was their target and the four cheetahs expertly took it down in spite of the bulk and strength of the topi. The fifth cheetah later appeared on the scene and as instinct dictates, the coalition ate with wild abandon. As usual, the Musketeers were not let alone to eat their kill in peace, but had to defend it against a horde of vultures who also wanted a piece of the dispatched topi.
(Just before the hunt, Screenshot Credit: Gaby Hossain, safariLIVE, Maasai Mara)
A warm WElcome to Luluka! Her debut was surely one to be remembered. After conveniently posing for us to properly identify her, Luluka began a very intense hunt; WE were all on the edges of our seats as WE watched her creep up behind a flock of oblivious guinea fowl. Sadly for us, (although a big sigh of relief for the birds, I’m sure) Luluka’s efforts were ultimately in vain. WE were nonetheless impressed by the newcomer’s agility as she jumped across a lugger and out of view.
A big thank you to all of the viewers who helped us identify this leopard!