By Will Knocker:
After months of greenery & long grass, the Park has turned tawny & the migratory herds are back: eland do not go far: across the Empakasi into the Sheep & Goat land. This is one of Kenya’s significant populations..
The NNP kongoni (Coke’s hartebeest) population is a conundrum: it used to consist of 2 populations, resident & migratory. As the migratory population has been confined to the Park (the remaining dispersal area is short grass plain-unsuitable for this sp. which is adapted to long grass areas) the population has shot up, in spite of record numbers of lions, for whom kongoni are a favourite prey sp. …
The Plains zebra are back! In a year of good rain such as this, our population of up to 4000 roam as far as they can in the remaining dispersal areas. However it seems that even these remarkably adaptive creatures, able to deal with the suburban conditions (fences, people, dogs) outside the park have had to overcome their fears about lions & have come back in small family groups & some bigger migratory mobs consisting of hundreds of animals…the lions will be happy!
Up until the turn of the century, such sights would have included thousands of wildebeeste, but alas the last few hundred like the short grass plain of the Sheep & Goat land & only venture into the park if pressed by drought conditions….
NNP remains the last pristine corner of the Athi Kapiti Ecosystem, now a truncated shadow of what it once was. It is so encouraging to see the herds of migratory species come back to the park safe & sound after the Rains…..
ABSOLUTELY BRILLIANT SEQUENCE OF PICS BY DAVE MCKELVIE:
By Will Knocker:
2 lionesses patrolling the swamp below Hyena Dam….they have not eaten…
A magnificent female lion, big & strong, but thin….
Here she comes….
Panting: it is hot; 11 am & she has just missed a warthog kill attempt….
View through the windscreen: why do lions generally completely ignore vehicles?
The second lioness, smaller & just healing from a shoulder wound, probably the result of an attack by a male
Poor old girl: she will not survive long: no teeth……..
Off they go (to cubs in the case of the big lioness?), tired & hungry……a lion’s life is not an easy one…..
Photos by DAVE McKELVIE:
Thanks to our resident lion tracker Dave McKelvie, here are some charming (& encouraging) images of newborn lion cubs in the park.
Sadly the general public are never told when lions are ‘lost’ ; that is are killed or wander out of the Park never to be seen again (presumed killed) but we do get reports now & then about wayward lions such as Gammyleg (a well known local lioness) killed by a vehicle on the Magadi Road on the western side of the Park…….
As far as I know only 1 (lioness) remains of her family of 4 (she & 3 adult cubs)…….
We do know there are no less than FIVE adult males in the park at the moment: there are some interesting social dynamics going on (all these lions are related!)
In these circumstances, new cubs are a real bonus & hope for the future & I would say that these little ones bring the park lion estimated total up to 30-35 individuals & they have plenty to eat in the current dry conditions, with much wildlife (especially plains zebra) in the park……