Here’s a super sequence of photos from professional photographer PAOLO TORCHIO, a regular chronicler of events in Nairobi National Park. Paolo please forgive the fact that these pics have been ‘cropped’ in the posting process & my technical inability to prevent this……..
These photographs are significant because they record an unusual situation in the Nairobi National Park: lions taking on an adult bull buffalo!
Buffaloes are an introduced species into the NNP, (although there must have been buff in the Langata forest in historical times.) Researchers are quite clear: buff are not on the traditional menu of the NNP lions, which favour plains species such as wildebeest, zebra, kongoni & warthog.
This has been a problem for the lions, for 3 of these species are migratory & usually moved out of the park in the rains. In the period 2000-20005, NNP experienced a wet cycle, when the park was relatively empty of herbivores & the lions starved.
They left the park & began to kill cattle out of the park even though there were plenty of buffaloes in the park. In turn, most of the lions -over 20 of the 30 in the park at the time- were killed by angry pastoralists.
Things have changed. Lion numbers are up to an estimated 22 in the park, which has experienced a pronounced dry cycle since 2005 & is therefore full of herbivores at the moment. In any case migratory grazers have limited options these days: they have a rapidly decreasing area in which to disperse during the rains. So it’s good times for the lions & if they can learn to hunt & kill buffaloes, so much the better!