Saturday, 28 January 2017

Jan 25 Encounter Mara

Oh! What a morning.  Read on if you want to read about the kill we saw...
We were up at 0530 to see a most spectacular starry sky.  The southern cross was up and low in te north we could see the big dipper.  The milky way was there in all its glory!  We were awakened with a cup of Masai tea...heavily milked chai flavored tea...and we watched the sun start to lighten the sky.  At 0630 we were back in the jeep with our guide, searching for what we might find.  Within a few minutes Lemkoko spotted a male and female lion.

We drove quickly to their location to see them.  I could not understand why, after a few minutes of viewing these relatively quiet cats our guide did not leave the site for other viewings.  He explained that, though the cats seemed at ease, the female was signalling that 'something was up'.  This she does by keeping her ears erect,  upon the backs of which are black spots.  These are seen from behind by other lions and are a signal to them.  Hence...we waited.  

The female moved slowly forward, the male in the rear.  They did not move together, he in fact seemed most uninterested.  She, by contrast was alert to all animals around her, scanning from one grazing herd to another.  She seemed to give up from time to time and lay down, but the ears were ever-erect.  

We followed her until she disappeared into a small ravine and we circled around to see from its opposite crest.  No sooner did we arrive but Paul saw her leap over the crest and land atop an Impalla!  She was in full view and we watched while she finished the job, not with tearing of flesh as I had expected; but by suffocating her prey.  This took her considerable effort and a full 20 minutes of continuing and constant force. 

 Then she dragged her prey away to a shady and hidden spot.  She then laid down to rest from the effort, saving the meat for later when she was more rested.  The male was no where to be seen, but if he were to come upon her and her kill, he would have fed first.  One could certainly see and appreciate her incredible strength and her profound intellegence having patiently stalked and killed her next meal.  This took a full hour and a half to unfold!

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