Another day, another Mara tale from our repeat guest, Nik Simpson! During August and September, the famous wildebeest migration is taking place in northern Serengeti, making those dangerous river crossings at the Mara and Talek Rivers in order to follow their age-old migration routes in pursuit of good grasses. Of course, the lions (and leopards, cheetahs, crocs, and hyenas) have learned over many years that this is where they stand a chance of an easy meal, and sure enough, plenty of wildebeest, zebra, gazelle, and other migrating antelope fall victim to the predating jaws of the hunters.
Nik spent this year’s safari in the thick of it all in Kenya and Tanzania, and it paid off with plenty of breathtaking wildlife encounters associated with the magnetic migration. In recent blog posts, we’ve shared Nik’s photos and accompanying stories from a Talek River crossing, to a cheetah kill, a leopard and her cub, and now a superb safari experience while staying at Ilkeliani Camp: Lions taking down a wildebeest.
To see a kill in action is an occasion you’ll never forget. It takes your breath away and wreaks havoc with your emotions – the lions need to eat, but you want to wildebeest to survive. The circle of life is not always an easy pill to swallow. Something that is important to remember is that lion cubs only have a 50% chance of survival in the wild, and male lions in particular face plenty of difficulties from birth all the way until death. In addition, the wild lion population of the world has decreased from hundreds of thousands to only about 20 000, so to see a pride of lions thriving in their natural habitat is becoming more of a rarity every year.
This astonishing moment in the Masai Mara went from thrilling to phenomenal when two lionesses successfully hunted a wildebeest, and then called their cubs out to join in the feast. With no male lions in the area, this little pride was free to eat in peace. Nik’s great images show about 6 cubs bounding over to their mother/s (it is likely that both females gave birth at a similar time given the size of the cubs and the litter), and after an enthusiastic greeting, the little ones tucked into the wildebeest kill alongside the lionesses, and Nik got to enjoy yet another magnificent moment on safari in East Africa.