Tuesday, 14 February 2012

Masai Mara 2012, Lion Hunting

We had finished watching the hippos in their pool on the safari this morning, and Rafael seemed driving with no particular destination in mind. We arrived in a hilly plain and saw a safari car stopping high on a hill. Rafael knew by experience that there must be something going on. So he drove toward the car. We saw a family of warthog in a distance being watched by a lioness. And at the other far corner another lioness was watching a buffalo on the top of the ridge. Far behind her was another two or three lioness hiding in the tall grasses. There was a mound at the waist of the hill and another group of lions were watching what was going on.

The buffalo was originally grassing with its back facing us. It turned its head and sensed the danger and started to move. It stopped after a short distant, and turned to look at the direction where the lioness was standing. He then ran quickly away with its head high up. The lions knew that the game was over, and started to move to regroup on the mound. The one watching the warthog decided to stay for its watch.

We didn't see that there was another warthog under the tall grasses. The family of the warthog that were being watched suddenly all looked toward the direction of the watching lioness. They probably made a signal to ran away from the danger, and the warthog close to the lioness made a fatal move, and immediately caught the attention of the lioness. It sprinted and in a second caught the warthog. I heard only the screaming but could not turn my camera fast enough to catch any photo, and the game was over. The other lions on the mound quickly descended on the killing spot, and demanded their share of the meal.

We could only see the heads of the lions all squeezed together. One of them probably got the first chance of the abdomen of the prey, and it needed some fresh air. It pulled out its head and showed its fully bloody face. The small young lions tried hard to climb up the other bigger lions and squeezed their head in. The lioness which had caught the prey had voluntarily stood aside alone and not participated in the grab for foods. Several of the lions were probably each biting on a part of the carcass, and no one wanted to let it go, and they all squatting there for a long time and did not make any move. A few young lions could only licked whatever was left of the grasses. We left when they were still squatting to hold on to their bites.

Our first sighting of a lion was on our first safari on this trip. It was late in the afternoon, and we had just seen a cheetah and its adult offspring resting under a shade in a lonely bush in an open country. Rafael found the lioness under a similar environment. He zero in to the lioness as if he knew the location by GPS. The lioness had finished its meal, and the remains of its prey was lying in a small pile near the root of the bush. The bone had been cracked open and it must had eaten the bone marrow.

An hour later, we saw three lionesses near the carcass of a zebra near a water hole. It could be the kill early in the morning. Two of them were resting, but one was still gnawing the head and neck of the carcass trying to get the last bits of the its meat. A herd of zebras was watching at a distance. There was no vulture disturbing the lioness in having their meals. The guide said that there was very little vultures in the park due to the lack of their resting places.

More photos can be seen by searching "lku99999, photo" in Google.

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