Four of the Great Five

Something happened to the Mara Great Five – a male coalition of 5 males. Today we found only four of them sleeping deep in the bush. After waking up at 5.30 pm, one of them started making loud calls. These sounds spread over 2 km and meant for communication over long distances. The calling male then led the group to the area where most probably the member of a coalition had been lost. All four were limping on front limbs, which could be a result of fighting with someone the previous night. It is hard to say what had happened to the missing male. He was a co-leader of a group and often a decision maker. Such strong concern of only one male in a group can indicate his close relationship with the missing brother.


Rani is mating with two boys

Rani is mating with two boys in The Mara Triangle. It is extremely difficult to observe cheetahs in courtship in the wild, but watching of an actual copulation is trully amazing. Usually cheetahs mate at night, but two brothers of the Mara Triangle became impatient when they came across Rani. The female came into estrus after she had lost her last litter. Males’ competition made the copulation unsuccessful for both of them, but there is hope that later on, at least one of them will copulate effectively.

Cheetahs Kisaru, Busara and Hyena

Learning how to identify a danger and to behave accordingly is a part of survivor strategies in all animal species. These strategies cheetah cubs learn from their mother’s behavior. Kisaru and Busara – Amani’s daughters spent enough time with their experienced mother and learnt that single hyena does not pose a danger if they don’t have a kill. For a young hyena, two resting cheetahs and a few vehicles at a distance could be a lure for checking if they had a kill. Most of the encounters of the both species end up peacefully if there is nothing for hyena to seize.


Rani is back in the Mara Triangle

Rani – is a 9-year old female, who was born and raised by Shakira in the Mara Triangle. She crossed the Mara River when she was 5 years old, and since then, started exploring the territory of the reserve and later on, adjacent conservancies. Last year, at the age 8 years, she raised three cubs to independence for the first time in her life. Since then, Rani lost two litters. She had spent September at the Look Out area and recently crossed again to the Mara Triangle for the first time within 4 years. Within one day, she is covering large distances, looking for new opportunities. At the moment, she is one of the 7 different individuals who visit the Mara Triangle, including the male Hodari (Amani’s son), who has crossed the river on the early morning of 28 August.


Daughters of Kakenya – Naserian and Naretoi in the Mara Triangle

Last two months have been marked by good news – two daughters of Kakenya, born in 2014, came back to the Mara Triangle – one with three small cubs and another one pregnant! Mara Conservancy rangers who are carefully monitoring these young cheetahs, named them Naserian – which means “Peaceful and Social”, and Naretoi – meaning “One who Helps” in Maa. Naserian came over most likely looking for the safe place to give birth, while Naretoi is introducing the Mara to her offspring. Both females spent significant time in the Mara Triangle with their mother Kakenya – one of the most successful cheetahs in the Mara – in 2016, she raised 4 cubs out of 5. Naretoi is covering large distances within several hours, hunting almost every day. The size of the cubs and the rate of growth depend on the level of nutrition in the first months of life, so the more often the cubs eat, the larger and stronger they will be. For a pregnant cheetah, it is not easy to catch a large prey, and many different factors may affect hunting success. Sometimes, zebras harass cheetahs. Recently, we observed Naserian. Being not sure about intentions of approaching animals, she had to make sure she would not be disturbed. She huddled to the ground watching a group and relaxed only when all zebras passed by.