Saturday, May 15, 2010

Masai Mara Part 2: Animal Pics

We spent Monday evening, all Tuesday, and Wednesday afternoon in the park. While on our "game drive" on Monday evening we came across a pride of about 12 lions (3 males, 3 females, and about 6 cubs) feasting on a freshly killed African water buffalo. We were within 50 feet of where they were all eating it. The crazy thing is that the grass was so tall one of the male lions came up from behind us walking towards the kill and then laid down disappearing in the grass, even though he was no more than 30 feet away from us! It was very eery! Who knew what animals we were missing in the walking safari for me!

On Tuesday we went for a full day game drive starting at 8 in the morning. We went back to the place where the buffalo was killed and only 2 of the lions were left eating. However, all the scavengers were circling getting ready to get their share when the lions had finished. These included jackals, hyenas, vultures, and a stork. The first to move in were the jackals, tiny little fox-like animals. When the lions left, only a few minutes after we had arrived, the hyenas were quick to move in. There were 3 of them and they each ran in, grabbed a leg (hoof and all) and ran off (SEE PIC BELOW). The best part was that two of the hyenas were fighting over the first leg and were making that crazy “laughing/cackle” sound that you always hear about. We couldn't stop laughing! It was one of the major highlights of the trip!

We then traveled throughout the park finding more giraffes, lions, cheetahs (one of Claire's favorites), elephants, gazelles, impala, baboons, hippos, crocodiles, ostriches, and more.

The final moring we woke up before dawn so we could go see the animals at first light when they are most active. We went back to the spot where the buffalo was killed and the hyenas were mopping up. We drove right up to where the kill was and the only thing left was the skull and brains. There was a hyena crunching on the skull-- ICK!--They have foolishly strong jaws. We then continued driving around through the park and saw another cheetah, a pride of lions resting in a clump of bushes, and a second pride of lions who had just killed a zebra and were beginning to eat it. I guess it is not that easy to come across lions that have just killed so we were pretty lucky.

The famous lone Acacia Tree.

The male lion surveying the African Water buffalo kill before disappearing into the tall grass.

A female lion and cubs eating the water buffalo.

A spotted hyena with the leg and hoof of the water buffalo.
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