Today in the afternoon while on a game drive, looking for Bahati (leopard) with her cubs in a location I had seen in the morning, I got a call on radio from my fellow guides, Henry Sadera and Peter Naurori, that Malaika had just crossed the Talek river and has lost one of the cubs to a crocodile. I abandoned my leopard search and dashed to where Malaika had crossed. I found her when she had already crossed and one of the cubs was looking in the direction of the river and calling (am sure with the hope that the brother who had been taken by croc was still alive). This particular cub spent almost whole afternoon calling.
I drive to the crossing point and found a crocodile with the dead cub next to it at the edge of the water. It was very sad for me and my guest and all Mara guides who knows Malaika. It is very sad that out of the entire original litter, its only 2 cubs left now. We hope she will keep the remaining till they go independent.
The place where she crossed is the same place where she lost another cub of the same litter earlier through the same means. Surely she has been unlucky at this point. The crossing point is called dirisha (window) by local guides, because of a gap between the riverine forest that lines the Talek river in the area. To the BBC’s Big Cat Week followers, this is the place that was referred to as the death crossing. It was at this point that the legendary Talek River queen, Bella, killed two wildebeests calves, one after the other (though she actually killed three, but the crew arrived only in time to capture the two) I was working as a spotter then for the leopard filming crew.
Malaika and her 2 remaining cubs on a mount after crossing the river. It was really sad to see one of the cubs (The one sitting up) looking in the direction of the river all the time and calling.
The dead cubs at the edge of the water in the river, with a croc next to it.
The croc that killed the cub.