Stories from the Masai Mara: Fig the Leopard and her Cub

Our recent guest, Nik Simpson, embarked on an all-encompassing East Africa safari last month, and has since shared so much of his phenomenal photographs and stories on his personal Flickr account, inviting us to feast our eyes on some of the amazing wildlife sightings he enjoyed. On this particular occasion, Nik was at Porini Lion Camp in the Mara Olare Motorogi Conservancy just outside the Masai Mara National Reserve, and it is clearly right where the magic happens! On a safari itinerary that took him from the Masai Mara to the Serengeti and Ngorongoro Crater, Nik’s sightings reflected the wealth of wildlife residing in this wild African paradise.

We’ve shared a couple of his photos and stories over the last few weeks (take a look at this Talek river crossing during the wildebeest migration, and this impossibly amazing kill involving 5 cheetah brothers), and now we’re all about this precious sighting of Fig the Leopard and her Cub!

This superb sighting went from good, to better, to best over the space of a few days, as Nik continued to encounter Fig the leopardess on his game drives at Porini Lion Camp. One day, she was spotted patrolling her territory on her own, the next it was revealed she had a little cub hiding out in the thicket, and finally Fig hunted a scrub hare and brought it to her cub. An outstanding sighting in anyone’s book.

FIg the Leopard and her Cub © Nik Simpson

FIg the Leopard and her Cub © Nik Simpson

FIg the Leopard and her Cub © Nik Simpson

One morning, Fig was spotted out on her own, patrolling her turf, and just through the thicket she had emerged from, her little cub could be spied. Only just, the 4-month old ball of fur was visible between the leaves, well hidden by its mother, who knows the dangers that lurk in the famous predator paradise that is the Masai Mara. Here, the little cub would spend hours on its own until Fig came back after her morning rounds.

FIg the Leopard and her Cub © Nik Simpson

The next day, Nik was out on game drive, and yet again, Fig and her cub were the stars of the show. The mother and cub were hanging out in the branches of a tree, and before long, Fig descended, leaving her cub at a safe height while she went out to pick up some dinner.

FIg the Leopard and her Cub © Nik Simpson

FIg the Leopard and her Cub © Nik Simpson

FIg the Leopard and her Cub © Nik Simpson

After a short while, Fig turned up with the goods. She had caught a scrub hare, which Nik described as being ‘too slow’, and she was spotted on her way back to the tree where he and fellow guests were keeping watch over the cub. She stopped a short distance away and began calling her cub, encouraging it to come down and find her. At first there was no reaction, but then the cub very clearly called back to its mother.

FIg the Leopard and her Cub © Nik Simpson

FIg the Leopard and her Cub © Nik Simpson

Soon, the cub had clambered down the tree and sought out its mother, Fig, who was resting alongside her kill. The reunion was nothing less than adorable – an incredibly special moment to watch unfold. Mutual grooming took place, as mother and cub licked and nuzzled each other, and the cub began to suckle. Before long, the cub lost interest in its mother, and discovered the freshly killed hare discarded to the side. This is certainly one of the most amazing guest albums we’ve received – thank you very much for sharing your stories with us, Nik!

FIg the Leopard and her Cub © Nik Simpson

FIg the Leopard and her Cub © Nik Simpson

FIg the Leopard and her Cub © Nik Simpson

 

FIg the Leopard and her Cub © Nik Simpson

Author: Chloe Cooper

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