Shenton Safaris

A short life: Dramatic sighting in the Maasai Mara

Written by Andreas Knausenberger

During our last SIGMA photographic safari to the Massai Mara, Kenya, we came across a really dramatic sighting!

We had found a pride of lions in the early morning, and after taking some photos we proceeded our game drive along the double cross area in the Mara. While with some buffaloes, I looked through my binoculars to see a lioness stalking in the far distance.Then a second lioness appeared. We immediately headed towards their direction to see what had caught their interest.

As soon as we had arrived, we noticed that a waterbuck had just giving birth. The one lioness was close by trying to locate where the smell was coming from and was almost to where the waterbuck was.

It didn’t take long before the lioness found the waterbuck and her newborn calf. She started stalking and after some minutes she finally pounced. The waterbuck ran off and the lioness was clearly surprised when she was left with the calf and it seemed like she didn’t know quite what to do next.

The lioness started licking the calf and tried to play with it. As soon as it started screaming for the first time in its life, all the other lion pride members came running.

I knew this wouldn’t end well for the calf. As soon as the other lionesses and cubs arrived, the lioness ran away with her prey. The one other lioness tried to grab the calf and was successful in getting it for herself, taking it to a spot under a bush to enjoy her meal in peace.

The only cub allowed to eat with her was the smallest one in the pride – which I believe was her cub – as the other cubs were chased away. Unfortunately the calf’s life was a short one, but this just goes to show that lions will never say no to an easy meal.

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