When last we left the sterkly pride a team of lionesses had spent a day and night hunting, feeding, and protecting their kill. After a night of fending off Hyenas, the pride had taken their fill of the recently downed Greater Kudu and moved on from the feeding site.
However, after this group feeding, rains and flooding increased in the Samburu District wreaking havoc on the area, and the ability of the Lion Warriors to track the sterkly pride’s movements. Many of the usual landmarks have been washed away, and most of the crossing points are impassable due to the swell of water.
Heavy flooding in several nearby seasonal riverbeds separated the pride. A pair of sterkly sisters are forced to fend for themselves, and take up pursuit of a small zebra herd - about seven strong. After a brief rest at midday they caught up to the herd near a natural watering hole. The lionesses were spotted, and the hunt was on. After a successful kill, and feeding, the were clearly exhausted; panting heavily, they stopped to rest.
Half of a kilometer away, on the other side of seasonal river banks, the bulk of the pride awaited the return of the sisters, and mourned their absence. Vocalizations from sterkly males could be heard calling for the distant females, from across the river.
The sisters rested under a thicket of bushes through the night, intermittently defending their kill from a black-backed jackal and two female hyenas. In the morning the Lion Warriors followed the tracks of the two lionesses who attempted to cross the swollen river. They were unsuccessful at first and spent two days searching the river banks for a crossing site, and returning to the kill for nourishment.
Eventually the sterkly sisters were able to cross near Kaminiak Ridge and were reunited with three adult members of the pride, two of the 6-month old cubs, and one sub-adult male. As of this time the Lion Warriors are making for the high lands to scout for the remaining members of the pride from which they were separated.
Have you ever been curious about what it might be like to witness a day in the life of a lion? Well, wonder no more! Thanks to the amazing work of the Lion Conservation Fund we are excited to bring you a lions eye view of life in the bush.
What follows is based on real observation and photography, courtesy of the fearless Maasai who help to track and protect our very own sterkly pride.
Date: May 22, 2012
We open now on the semi-arid savannah and open plains of Samburu District, Rift Valley, Kenya. This was once the Northern Frontier Region, and remains outside of the national park system.
It is early morning, no more than two hours from sunrise, and already three of the sterkly pride sisters are on the prowl. Ahead, a Greater Kudu grazes, and remains blissfully unaware of the flight it is soon to take.
The lionesses drop to a crouch and slowly make their approach - but inevitably they are exposed, and the kudu bolts for its life. Not easily deterred, the sisters break into a loping run and give chase. For over an hour the fierce lionesses pursue the kudu, who struggles to avoid their approach, knowing that to stop is to die. Fleeing, the prey plunges into thick brush, closely pursued by the huntresses.
It is almost midday now, and the hunt is taking its toll. The lionesses, wearied from their relentless pursuit, are unable to sweat and must seek relief - two sterkly sisters are spotted resting in the shade of an acacia tree. The kudu is also nearing exhaustion and lathering, yet cannot safely rest as one lionesses continues to press him.
It is now around 1pm and finally all three sisters are reunited - feeding around a fresh kill with their oldest cubs. The lionesses are quickly joined by the remaining sterkly pride females who had remained behind with the younger cubs. The feast is on; a vital part of life in the wild.
Slowly the feeding frenzy abates, as each of the proud cats takes their turn. Scavengers begin to approach, and life returns to its normal rhythm as the adrenaline of the earlier hunt fades. Around mid-afternoon a small group of five elephants wander near the site.
Slowly the heat starts to fade away as afternoon rolls into twilight. About 100 yards out from the kill site, where the pride continues to rest, a couple of black-backed jackals attempt to approach - but are quickly driven off. A group of nine hyenas appear from the northwest and remain a few hundred feet from the periphery of the site until dark.
As the remaining light fades, so does the caution of the hyenas. Visibility is low, there are no artificial lights to cast a glow over the plains. The velvety black of night slinks in, and the whoops and yelps of the hyenas dominate the scene. Throughout the evening and night the clamor continues. Amidst the yelping of the hyenas, the lionesses can be heard aggressively charging the scavengers and defending their kill. However, by daybreak, the hyenas were feeding on the remains, and the pride - having their fill - had moved on.
Always continue the climb. It is possible for you to do whatever you choose, if you first get to know who you are and are willing to work with a power that is greater than ourselves to do it. -Ella Wheller Wilcox
The will to win, the desire to succeed, the urge to reach your full potential… these are the keys that will unlock the door to personal excellence. -Confucius
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Several lives have been claimed by recent flash flooding throughout Laikipia and Samburu counties in Kenya. These rains are expected with some seasonal regularity, however some feel that officials involved have not done enough to minimize the losses. Red Cross officials believe the rains from locations upstream, such as Mt Kenya and Aberdares, caused the swelling of the rivers resulting in flash floods.
After the death of a Loika Village local and the destruction of the village’s livestock, this video was released on Kenya Television Network (KTN).
The United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) has recently published a map documenting this season’s flood activity.
The Samburu Maasai that make up the Lion Warrior Program, as well as the sterkly Pride territory and habitat, are within the highly affected lowland area. The sterkly team anxiously awaits an update from the bush on the health and activity of our pride, and the fierce warriors who work tirelessly to protect them.