From our friends at Ol Donyo Lodge in Kenya, we have this October game report.
October has been a great month for cheetah and lion encounters at Ol Donyo Lodge and Ride Kenya. The increase in the plains game population (recovering well from our drought in 2009) has brought predators in higher numbers to the area, and most days our guides are finding big cats. Two male cheetah are back in residence within 2 miles of the lodge, as well as a female with 5 cubs. Lion sightings have been frequent this month and their roaring can be heard often at night, close to the lodge waterholes.
While we are thrilled to have the big cats so close to home, Ride Kenya’s horses do not feel the same way. Two days ago the horses were given a nasty shock. The horse herd was out grazing in the woodland near the stables as usual, and suddenly came tearing back home at high speed, sweating and panicking into the yard! Upon closer inspection of the herd, it became obvious that two of the horses had been ambushed by a lion, but luckily they got away with a few cuts, scrapes and bruises. They are both recovering well from the attack, but as long as the lion is in the area the horses will be escorted by game rangers when they go out grazing. The same lion has successfully hunted a giraffe in the last 12 hours, so we hope that he will now move on before needing to hunt again.
Other more enjoyable encounters with lion have been provided by Nemisi, a resident lioness who has three young, healthy cubs. She can be found most evenings lying out between a lava flow and dry river bed with her young family, and is relaxed and doing well. She is often to be seen with two males, one of whom is the dominant breeding male and the other his brother. This small pride of six lions is one of several prides in our area at the moment. Recently lion researchers here in the Chyulus estimated that 22 individual lion cubs, with their mothers, have been detected on Mbirikani Group Ranch between January 2011 and the present date. This is a record high number since 2004, and a clear reflection of the success of the lion conservation work being done here by the Maasailand Preservation Trust and the Lion Guardians.