Monday, January 26, 2015

A great week spent with Malaika in the Mara

I spent the past one week with Malaika, the female cheetah in the Mara with her cubs. Her four surviving cubs are such a joy to spend sometimes with. Just like any cubs, they spend most of the time playing around their mum, trying to improve their skills in stalking and chasing prey. These cubs, are so obedient, that when their mother starts stalking a prey, they stay put and keep a good distance from the mother to avoid spoiling the hunt lest they go hungry. most cheetah cubs behaves as such when their mothers go hunting.

Malaika has lately come to settle near Olkiombo airstrip. She would go out hunting on the higher ground to the east of the airstrip but in the evening will retreat back to the airstrip area for the night. Looking closely, I came to realize that her choice of spending time near the airstrip, is due to the absence of lions and not many hyenas, which could be a problem when she hunts. she is such a great mother and I have seen her before, bring up cubs successfully by avoiding prey competition and choosing safe locations for her cubs upbringing. Her current young cubs are now almost past danger from lions etc, since they can now run fast enough. Earlier on, she lost one of the cubs when she crossed the Talek (which then had high water) only to be confronted by lions after she had just crossed, forcing her to swim back across with her cubs and one of the cubs drowned in the process. This is one of the bad experience she must have gone through over the years. In general she is such a good mother and we see her current cubs living into adulthood. 
She and her cubs gave us such a great photographic opportunities.

Thomson's gazelles which forms her main prey are many in the area where she has lately settled.

This is Rekero pride, who are direct competitors currently to Malaika since they occasionally come in contact. 

She is quite a vigilant mother

She has come to like the dirt mounts near Olkiombo airstrip, where she spend the night

Watching out at sunset

Early morning lookout

1 comment:

Hemi Desai said...

Thank you Paul for beautiful blog. At least we know now what happened to 5th cub. Cheetah are so precious. Hope they grow into adult hood and stay safe away from lions and hyenas.