It has been another interesting week following the lives of the big cats in both the Sabi Sands and the Masai Mara.

Tingana was seen almost every day this week. He managed to scavenge two wild dogs kills, the first of which did not go unnoticed by two displeased females. Upon arriving back at their kill site, the dogs were greeted by a fat Tingana sleeping in a tree with their impala carcass as his pillow. A few days later he once again got lucky with a leftover bushbuck kill, also courtesy of the wild dogs. Thandi and Tlalamba were not as obliging as Tingana and both animals were only seen once. It seems Thandi is distancing herself from Tlalamba; it’s time for her young daughter to start learning the meaning of becoming an independent leopardess.

The crew up in the Mara were relieved to find some spots of their own, Kakenya had not been seen for some time prior to being spotted on Monday. She had moved about 20km away from her den, and was clearly no longer nursing cubs. A lack of suckle marks on her fluffy belly sadly confirms that all 5 of her youngsters have died.  The following day she executed a perfect Thomson’s gazelle hunt and has not been seen since. Naretoi and her remaining boy have not been seen for the last 7 weeks, and could well be in Tanzania.

After a mammoth 15 hour stake out, Jamie and Tristan both witnessed an incredible scene as the Owino Pride were ousted from their buffalo kill by an unknown and marauding clan of hyena. Overwhelmed by the initial hyena charge the Owinos fell back and regrouped for a last ditch attempt at regaining their kill. The hyenas however, were ready. The spotted scavengers organised their defense like a Spartan phalanx and saw the lions off for a second time before tucking in.

The Sausage Tree pride also managed to take down a buffalo, but had no problems with any hyena, probably due to the fact that they have three males with them. Two of the males are not fully grown, and one of them was showing some romantic interest in a female who lost her cub recently.  Interestingly the big male showed no concern and tolerated the youngster trying his luck with the lionesses. However, a few days later when the female was in full oestrus, the big male was seen mating with her. One of the missing lionesses has returned to the pride sporting an injury to her front right paw, it is unclear how she sustained this injury but is nursing it gently; ensuring she doesn’t put too much pressure on it while she walks and stalks the plains.

The shift in dynamics of the dominant male lions of Djuma has caused some upset with the local prides in the area. The Nkuhuma pride continue to spend time further to the south, in all likelihood trying to stay close to the Birmingham Boys for safety and support especially considering Amber Eyes’s three precious new additions to the pride. This has left Djuma open to investigation by other prides leading to a surprise visit from the Talamati pride who had not been seen on Djuma for months.  

Written by: Scott Dyson