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"Offbeat Safari" Mara North, Feb 2014

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Re: "Offbeat Safari" Mara North, Feb 2014

Post  Safariman on Sun Mar 16, 2014 12:04 pm

Thanks LW and Lai. The music is called Africa by a South African group which I thought was appropriate. I am finding it more and more difficult to find the right music to accompany the videos. If it sounds right it is always the wrong length which means I have to try and re-edit the video which I am not very good at!!
For the young ellies everything seems to be a great adventure until something goes wrong and they run back to mum.

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Re: "Offbeat Safari" Mara North, Feb 2014

Post  Laikipia on Sun Mar 16, 2014 12:41 pm

It is hard Safariman. I have a collection of African music but will shortly run out. As I do slideshow it is easier to fit the slideshow to the music or vice versa depending on how many photos I am putting together  Laughing 

Anyway, it's all good fun  

Looking forward to more of yours ..............  http://i70.servimg.c 

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Re: "Offbeat Safari" Mara North, Feb 2014

Post  littlewid on Sun Mar 16, 2014 4:35 pm

Well we will just have to speak with the African music makers and ask them to make some more......we can't have slide shows without the magical African music, oh no.  Very Happy 

Hopefully you both have a few more up your sleeves for a few more slide shows  bounce 

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Re: "Offbeat Safari" Mara North, Feb 2014

Post  whitestarling on Sun Mar 16, 2014 6:15 pm

Sorry SM as with Lai's Safari post will have to catch up with this in the week due to working. I agree with you about finding the right music for Vids its a headache

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Re: "Offbeat Safari" Mara North, Feb 2014

Post  whitestarling on Mon Mar 17, 2014 9:36 pm

Finaly had a catch up. Loved the Cheetah brother pics, and video. They were really chilled out on their walk, and it makes a nice change to see Cheetahs with a full belly. having had a meal without looking as though they've been harassed off it by lion Leopard, or Hyena. Your right about the Ostriches the Male has a harem of several Females who he will mate with. But he will only pair bond with one who is the lead hen, and she will lay her eggs first before the others in a communal nest, after all the eggs have been laid she will go through the eggs discarding them until there are only around 20 left, and she can identify her own eggs. Fantastic to see the Marsh Pride, and to know they are doing well, I think Doogs would be the best to confirm the ID of the Male. Brilliant Elephant photos they really are so photogenic, and you have caught them just right, and that's a great video, love the music to, as you say so difficult to find the right music. Thanks for the photos, and music Safariman

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Visitors at Leopard Gorge!!!

Post  Safariman on Tue Mar 18, 2014 12:07 pm

Thanks WS glad you liked the photos and videos As you say the love life of the ostrich is quite complex!! I am steadily going through my cd collection trying to find pieces of music that might be suitable for wildlife videos but without much luck.
On my last visit to the Conservancy in Nov. last year I encountered a lone female lion with 3 small cubs about 8/10 weeks old. She was an outcast from the Acacia/Cheli pride trying to make a go of it on her own. It was her second litter of cubs, the first being short lived. She had tried to set up her own territory on the border between the territories of the  Acacia and Offbeat prides.
When David and Kapeen were on their way to collect me from the airstrip on my arrival, they had come across the Offbeat Pride who were on a walkabout away from their normal area and had entered Acacia Pride territory and had encountered the lone female resulting in a fight which left the lone female separated from her cubs. That afternoon we caught up with the Offbeat Pride, relaxing but well inside Acacia territory. (I will be doing a post about the Offbeat Pride Later). About 200/300 yards away but out of sight of the Offbeat Pride was the lone female on her own. She was looking very anxious and miserable hoping her cubs would turn up, we left her to her wait.
A couple of days later we decided to drive through Leopard Gorge to see if anything was around  apart from the usual hyenas and hyrax. As we approached the gorge we could see high on top on one of the massive rocks that guard the entrance to the gorge a pair of tiny heads peeping over the top. As we drove closer we could see that there were three tiny heads, the three young cubs and to one side on the bank was mum in a position to keep an eye on the cubs and at the same time see what was happening in the surrounding area.The cubs and mum had been reunited!!
Two days later they were still in the same area only having moved a couple of hundred yards away and on my last day in the Conservancy we found them again. They were relaxing close to a small water hole but not too far from where we had first seen them at the gorge, The cubs were sleeping but they appeared to be very skinny and scrawny and in need of a good feed. Unfortunately now they are almost 6 months old they are going to need a constant supply of food putting a great strain on mum who apart from trying to look after them has to find time to hunt. She has no back-up from a pride and has to do everything herself. The cubs are also at an age when they will follow mum whenever she tries to hunt often ruining her chances of catching anything. The next few months will be critical and unfortunately I feel their chances of survival are not very high!! I am going to have to wait now until the end of Sept. before I can return to find out their fate and see if they have survived!!



Mum looking out for her three cubs



Mum looking very pensive



Three little heads peek out on the top of the huge rock at the entrance to Leopard Gorge.



The cubs and mum



Two of the cubs



Mum keeping watch



All three cubs



Two days later and they can just be seen still on top of the rocks



Last sighting, close to a waterhole



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Re: "Offbeat Safari" Mara North, Feb 2014

Post  Laikipia on Thu Mar 20, 2014 8:01 am

That's such a sad story Safariman, life as a lone lioness is extremely tough and I wonder why she had to leave her pride. To support 3 cubs will be almost impossible. I do hope when you return in September there will be some good news.

Some lovely photos, thanks for sharing.

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Re: "Offbeat Safari" Mara North, Feb 2014

Post  whitestarling on Thu Mar 20, 2014 9:56 pm

That's a nearly impossible job for her, to bring them through on her own, as we've seen in the past in programmes like Planet Earth Live, that's was a struggle just to bring up one, and at time it was touch, and go. Also Leopard Gorge doesn't really look like a good hunting area for Lions, although I can see the appeal with regard to safety from other Lions. Great photos again SM thanks

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What shall we call her?

Post  Safariman on Sun Mar 23, 2014 11:53 am

You are right WS it is difficult for single females to raise cubs. As you say Nyota managed to raise Moja but he was only a single cub and is now grown up and on his own. Lion society is very complex and I am not sure why some females decide to leave the security of the pride and set out on their own.

This post is another leopard one, so apologies to Doogs as I don't want to make her too envious!!
We were lucky enough to meet up with the young female leopard who lives close to camp and is the same one that Lai saw when staying in the infamous tent 3!!
Our first encounter was on an afternoon drive when we found her on the opposite side of the river, close to camp, relaxing on the bank. We parked up and waited to see if she intended to move but unfortunately after about an hour we were suddenly surrounded by a convoy of 4 more vehicles wanting to see a leopard. We decided to move off and leave them to it!!
The following afternoon we found her again, this time relaxing in one of the many magnificent fig trees that line the river. Again we parked up and waited. I asked David my guide what her name was and he told me she didn't have one. So we decided it was time she did! On her left shoulder she has a very distinctive marking almost as as if she has been branded or has a tattoo, with the spots forming a definite circle which makes her instantly recognisable. So David and Kapeen came up with  the name "Mbirika". I am not sure of the exact translation but it refers to the mark on her shoulder and she now has a name!! Our patience paid off and although to start with she just turned round she soon started yawning and then stretching and arching her back just like a domestic cat and after a quick wash climbed down the tree found a convenient fallen branch to cross the river without getting her feet wet, climbed up the bank and disappeared into the thick bush. This time there were no interruptions!!
The next day we were returning to camp after the morning drive looking forward to lunch and were about 10 mins. away from camp when we saw in the distance a solitary elephant bull, this was followed by a buffalo bull relaxing and chewing the cud and then by a pair of female lions hidden in the rocks. These were outsiders from another conservancy who felt they were able to come into Offbeat Pride territory with the pride having gone walkabout (story to follow). Within 200 yards of the lions was Mbirika like the lions relaxing among the rocks. Within a 5 minute period we had seen 4 of the "big five" and all less than 10 mins from camp!!
Because the weather was cold and overcast even though it was gone mid-day Mbirika was happy to be in the open instead of having to find some shade from the sun. This was great for us and forgetting about lunch we waited to see if should move. Initially she stood up and walked slowly in the direction of the lions before settling down again and then whether she smelt the lions or something else she again moved towards them this time stopping and raising her tail before starting to climb down through the rocks. We repositioned our selves below her and watched as she appeared to follow the path the lions had taken when they crossed the river to enter Offbeat  territory. Having reached the river she then found one of her fig trees and after a final glimpse of her silhouetted against the sky she disappeared high into the tree.
We had been lucky enough to see her 3 days running, out in the open and moving around in a very relaxed manner; it doesn't get any better than that!!!
I have included a short video of her as well as photos and if you look on the video at the wide shot you can just see as well as Mbirika in the bottom left the camp in the top right. She was just about within sight of camp, definitely one cool cat!!



First encounter





Second encounter















The Mbirika mark on her left shoulder can be clearly seen!!





Crossing the river without getting your feet wet!!





Third encounter











You can just see the ears of one of the female lions who was hidden in the rocks nearby!!







A final sighting of Mbirika silhouetted against the sky as she climbs one of her favourite fig trees.




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Re: "Offbeat Safari" Mara North, Feb 2014

Post  littlewid on Sun Mar 23, 2014 5:34 pm

I have just had a wonderful catch up there Safariman. It is worrying about the Lone Lioness and her cubs isn't it and in one of the photo's where the cub is lying down near the mum you can see how skinny the hind quarters are but in some of the pics they look quite healthy, must just be the fluffy faces. It really is going to be hard for her isn't it, especially as you say at 6 months old they will follow her and more than likely ruin most of her hunts. It does seem an odd spot for her to take up residency but maybe she does feel she can protect the cubs there. She is a lovely looking female isn't she and she actually looked quite well from your photo's so maybe she is getting enough food. I bet September seems like a long way of for you but I do hope you can come back with some good news about the Lone Female and her cubs, it's a tough world out there but hopefully she has the tenacity to see them all through ok.

How gorgeous is Mbirika and her circle is so easy to spot isn't it and that makes identification so easy, mind you I think you could just study her face and recognise her, there is something very magical about her. I am a Tiger girl and then it's hard to separate Cheetah, Lion and Leopard but I can say that Mbirika is very heart grabbing. You have had so many wonderful sightings of her and she has given so many glorious photo's, we are all very lucky.
I wonder how many can say they have seen 4 or the big 5 in such a short space of time, I bet that made you chuckle.
Loved the video of Mbirika and I don't know what the music was but it was really nice, it was quite serene and managed to watch it without any interruptions from Tiga........my little Tiger was sleeping  Very Happy 

Thank you for the stories and photo's Safariman and looking forward to the next instalment.

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Re: "Offbeat Safari" Mara North, Feb 2014

Post  Laikipia on Mon Mar 24, 2014 8:10 am

http://i73.servimg.c  Safariman a lovely clip and photos and a great commentary. It's great to know that we saw Mbirika outside Tent 3  Laughing  and that you were able to spend time with her, she has a very distinctive mark indeed.

I do wish vehicles wouldn't crown the animals especially the cats big and small, it never ceases to amaze me how little consideration people have  No 

3 days runnings is surely a great record and a wonderful experience, lucky you Safariman. One day we'll have to stay in one place for long enough to really follow the cats.

Thanks for sharing another great collection.

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Mara Birds

Post  Safariman on Sun Mar 30, 2014 3:27 pm

Sorry for the delay in replying but I have been a little distracted for the last few days as my younger son's lovely wife has just given birth to a beautiful little baby boy to join his little sister!!
The music on the video LW was called Nocturne by a Norwegian group Secret Garden. I think it was used on a tv advert many years ago and I thought it fitted the mood of the film.
I thought a change from the animals and this post shows some of the wonderful birds I managed to photograph. It is always a challenge and great if a little frustrating fun to try and capture them. Unfortunately the lack of sunshine did not do justice to the wonderful array of colours on display.



Somali Courser



Martial Eagle



Abdims Stork



Male Yellow-mantled widowbird



Green Wood-hoopoe



A Tawny Eagle, taking to the skies carrying the head of a young impala in its' huge talons!!!



White-browed Coucal



Male Village Weaver



Male Village Weaver nest building above the Mara River




An angry looking Lilac-breasted roller giving me the evil eye!!



African Wattled Plover



A pair of Grey Crowned Cranes showing off their newly hatched chicks.



A White Stork takes off!!



Tawny Eagle



Hildebrandt's Starling



Woodland Kingfisher


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Re: "Offbeat Safari" Mara North, Feb 2014

Post  littlewid on Sun Mar 30, 2014 4:29 pm

  Safariman on the birth of your new little Grandson, how exciting is that for you   ....... http://www.picgifs.c  to the world little chap  Very Happy  what does his little make of him Safariman?

Thank you so much for all those glorious pictures, I really do like to see all the birds. When you stop and think about it, we are truly blessed to have so many wonderful species in the world aren't we, it's not always something you take in when you are looking at photo's. I love seeing birds that I have never heard of before like the Somali Courser, what a sleek bird she is, so beautiful, especially up against the Martial Eagle, he was certainly living up to his name wasn't he and the little Lilac Breasted Roller made me chuckle, giving you the evil eye  Suspect The photo of the Grey Crested Cranes with their chicks is adorable, such a smilie family picture, I loved it. So many birds to comment on but I loved them all even the Tawny Eagle, a bit of a  affraid  picture for me but you jut have to be impressed with him flying with that.

Thanks for the info on the music in your video Safariman, I will have to listen to it again to see if I can think of the advert it was in.

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Re: "Offbeat Safari" Mara North, Feb 2014

Post  Laikipia on Sun Mar 30, 2014 6:38 pm

 Safariman, that's wonderful news  http://i70.servimg.c 

A lovely collection of birds photos. As you know I really enjoy my birds so it's lovely to see your photos. I agree birds are tricky to get, but very satisfying when you do  Very Happy  The LBR is always my favourite bird and has such a superb array of colours.

Thanks for sharing.

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Re: "Offbeat Safari" Mara North, Feb 2014

Post  whitestarling on Mon Mar 31, 2014 11:57 am

 On your new Grandson Safariman. Wonderful photos of Mbirika, she looks really chilled out in her Fig Tree, I wonder why she followed the same route as the Lions perhaps she felt safer being able to keep track of where they were. How brilliant being able to see 4 of the big five in ten minutes, some people never get to see all 5 on a Safar. Wonderful Bird shots Safariman, I love watching the Birds on the cams we have on here, there was a large flock of Abdmins  Storks a few weeks ago at Petes Pond in Botswana. Are the Village Weaver, and the Masked Weaver one in the same Bird they look very much the same to the ones I've seen on Alen Bird Cam from Pretoria. I never realised just how many different species of Starlings, and Kingfishers there are until seeing the photos you Guys fetch back from Safari, and watching the cams. There are some amazing looking Birds in Africa, I just love seeing all the different species.

WS


Last edited by whitestarling on Tue Apr 01, 2014 5:58 pm; edited 1 time in total

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Re: "Offbeat Safari" Mara North, Feb 2014

Post  Safariman on Tue Apr 01, 2014 2:51 pm

Thanks everyone, I now have 4 grandchildren ranging in age from almost 16 to a few days!!!

There are an incredible variety of birds in Africa and even when there are no mammals to see there are always lots of birds to hold one's interest.
You are right WS the Village and Masked Weaver are one and the same bird. Compared with the UK the variety of starlings and kingfishers is amazing. The colour range of the different starlings particularly when the sun shines is amazing and it always surprises me that the majority of the kingfishers are insect eaters rather than fish eaters!!

Hope to post some more pics later in the week.

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Re: "Offbeat Safari" Mara North, Feb 2014

Post  littlewid on Tue Apr 01, 2014 9:01 pm

I'm on tender hooks already Safariman  bounce   

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Hyenas

Post  Safariman on Wed Apr 02, 2014 3:34 pm

This is just a short post about hyenas, one of the more misunderstood animals of the savannah. They always seem to get a bad press and I am not sure why. They may not be the most charismatic creatures but they along with vultures, also misunderstood, fulfill an essential function in acting as the refuse collectors. Anybody who goes on safari will come back with memories of their penetrating whoops and howls in the middle of the night which will forever evoke Africa!!
The photos show a hyena creche we came across one day with probably about 15 youngsters all relaxing and playing together while the adults were off hunting. Close by were 2 delightful young pups and their mum doing what young pups always do, just playing. The final photo shows an unusual aspect of hyena life. It was getting dark and a hyena had just killed a white-tailed mongoose, after eating most of it, he then rolled in the remains of the carcass.David my guide explained that the mongoose has an anal gland which emits a secretion and by covering himself in the distinctive scent, the hyena takes on the smell of a mongoose and not a hyena to help him with his hunting!! Amazing what you see and find out on safari!!







Young hyenas playing together



One of the pups had a nasty wound on its' neck



Two tiny pups and mum











A hyena having just killed a white-tailed mongoose!!


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Re: "Offbeat Safari" Mara North, Feb 2014

Post  Doogs on Thu Apr 03, 2014 1:56 pm

Too much on here to catch up on with only 5 minutes left of my lunch hour, will check this out in more details at home  cheers 
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Re: "Offbeat Safari" Mara North, Feb 2014

Post  whitestarling on Thu Apr 03, 2014 11:23 pm

Great photos Safariman. Hyena cubs do look so different to when they grow up, not as threatening. A lot of people do not understand how important Hyenas, and Vultures are. Without them Africa would be rife with disease not only killing wildlife, but humans as well. They really misunderstood, and also the vital contribution they make to the well being of the invironment is not recognised.

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Re: "Offbeat Safari" Mara North, Feb 2014

Post  Laikipia on Fri Apr 04, 2014 8:42 am

Thanks  for some more lovely photos Safariman. I agree about hyenas and vultures, totally misunderstood, and a very important part of the system. We've always said it would be fun to follow hyenas for a day or two to see what they get up to.

It's lovely to see such young cubs having fun.

Thanks for sharing.

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Re: "Offbeat Safari" Mara North, Feb 2014

Post  Safariman on Sun Apr 06, 2014 11:43 am

Thanks for the comments.
One point about hyenas I forgot to mention which could become quite contentious is the increase in hyena numbers. They are now the most successful of the predators in the Mara area and their numbers are increasing rapidly. There has been talk about a possible cull as their success has been to the detriment of the big cats particularly cheetahs and leopards. Hyenas are very skilled at killing the cubs of the big cats and the more hyenas the less big cats plus their ability to steal kills due to their superior numbers. I am sure how this will be resolved!!!

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Re: "Offbeat Safari" Mara North, Feb 2014

Post  littlewid on Sun Apr 06, 2014 5:04 pm

Safariman, are the photo's of the mum and the 2 young cubs some of the stars in your video you posted the other day? I am sure they are. They are lovely photo's. I was one person who was not really attracted to Hyena's but over time I have come to respect them and the part they play, however, hearing that they are now breeding so successfully and becoming the top predator to the detriment of the Cheetah and Leopard, that is not such good news but you can't dislike them for that can you. Culling is always a drastic action to take but if they are potentially gong to put the big cats at an even bigger threat of extinction I suppose there has to be a solution somewhere to equal the balance or is this mans interference that may go wrong, I don't know but I would hate to see the big cats decreasing even more.

Interesting to hear about what the Hyena did with the Mongoose, animals are just far cleverer than we sometimes give them credit for.

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"The OffbeatPride"

Post  Safariman on Fri Apr 18, 2014 3:56 pm

With the arrival of the ducklings, I have rather neglected this thread and decided it is I time I added to it!!
When I stayed at Mara North in November last year the Offbeat Ride consisted of 6 females and 5 cubs about 3 months old. There were also 3 very new tiny cubs which I just caught I slight glimpse of. As I was leaving one of the pregnant females gave birth to a further 2 cubs giving a grand total of 10 cubs. They were immediately called the "Big Five" and the "Little Five". Sadly one of the Little Five did not last too long.
When I returned in Feb. just after Lai left, the whole pride bar one female, Napona the pride matriarch, had moved away from their base at Lion Hill and gone walkabout into the Acacia/Cheli Pride territory. No one was quite sure why but it could have been due to a young male who had been seen prowling around who might have been a possible threat to the cubs. Napono stayed as she was mating with one of the 3 pride brothers who service the pride!!
By moving into Acacia/Cheli Pride territory they were obviously asking for trouble as that pride has 27 members well spread throughout their territory. They initially clashed with the Outcast female, separating her from her 3 cubs as mentioned earlier in this thread and when I saw them they were happily ensconced in enemy territory. They soon disappeared again and it was several days later that we caught up with some of them still well away from home. We found a lone female resting under a tree, looking rather the worse for wear, in the middle of an open plain. We then saw a second female in the distance walking away from her however we soon relaised that she was looking for her cubs as one soon appeared accompanied by a third female. From the greeting that went on they had obviously been separated.
We continued searching and soon found a sub-adult male and 3 cubs of the Acacia/Cheli Pride close by. When we eventually caught up again with members of the Offbeat Pride we had seen earlier there were now 3 adults and three cubs slowly trudging in the the direction of their own territory. Even though the cubs looked quite well fed the adults had definitely been in an altercation with the enemy and were showing the scratches and wounds to prove it. One female was walking very slowly and the cub that was with her had to keep stopping to wait for her to catch up. Where the rest of the pride were we had no idea.
Although we kept looking for them every day it was not until my last day that we eventually found them again. They were relaxing along the top of a rocky ridge just back inside their own territory. There was no way we could get close to them due to the terrain and it was very difficult to see if they were all back together but the signs were hopeful.
Several days after I returned home I had word that they were back home on Lion Hill but again nobody was sure if they were all there and now the camp is closed for 2 months during the long rains!! Lions along with all the animals of the African bush live very precarious lives!!



2 of the Offbeat cubs happily relaxing in Acacia/Cheli Pride territory!!



"Stop laughing at me...... I don't know why i have 5 paws!!!"



"I think I will bite it off"        There is a jackal in the background.



Lions are very social animals and will always greet each other even when they are close together.



One of the Offbeat females showing the signs of the altercation with the Acacia/Cheli Pride



One of the Offbeat "lost' cubs reuniting with mum!!



The long trudge home. They totally ignored the zebras and Thomson's gazelle that were close by.











Waiting for mum to catch up!!



An Offbeat female showing plenty of scratches and scars!!



Stepping out together



A not very good photo of them hopefully all back together just inside home territory

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Re: "Offbeat Safari" Mara North, Feb 2014

Post  littlewid on Wed Apr 23, 2014 7:48 pm

Honestly, these Lions do give us the panics don't they. Their lives are full of dramas but lets hope that they are all back together now Safariman and that they are staying safe within their own territory. Do you think you will get any news on them when the camp opens again?
The mums look a bit battered don't they but it could have been worse couldn't it and at least it looks as though all the cubs survived.
It is odd how Lions know that crossing into another territory will cause a battle but they just can't seem to help themselves sometimes, I suppose it's the drive for food and mating with other males maybe.
Thank you for the photo's and the commentary........loved the 5 paws  Very Happy  Do let us know if you get any updates on them Safariman.

littlewid-x-

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Re: "Offbeat Safari" Mara North, Feb 2014

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