In Pictures: Lion Cubs of the Masai Mara

lion cubs masai masaThe first little cub bounces boldly from the thick bush it was told to stay hidden in. It can sense the return of its mother and its three siblings soon follow as she walks into sight. They are full of energy, falling over each other in excitement as they fight for attention from their weary mother, unaware of the failed attempt she has just made at providing them with a meal.

A few hours earlier

We begin our afternoon game drive with the sighting of a beautiful lioness lying in the shade under a tree. She has become one of my favourite photography subjects of the week, with her four little cubs providing endless entertainment with their playful antics. She is part of a small pride that is also in the area, but spends most of her time away from them – after all, taking care of two-month cubs is a demanding job.

We had watched her finish devouring a zebra with her cubs a few days earlier and think she might be ready to hunt again, especially as her cubs are out of sight, most likely left hidden from potential prey as she heads out to hunt. With the rest of her pride nearby however, the hour of the day and her sleepy demeanour, it doesn’t seem likely.

But this is the wild and things can change in an instant.

An unfortunate warthog walks past us, unaware of its proximity to the hungry predator. It provides the opportunity for an easy kill and the resting lioness switches to hunting mode within seconds. It appears the cubs will have full bellies for the next few days.

But an easy kill doesn’t always equate to an easy meal in the Masai Mara. The cries of the warthog attract the attention of the pride resting nearby and they come running from all directions, viciously pouncing on the kill that was intended for the lioness’ cubs.

_Kellie NetherwoodBefore long, the only evidence of the warthog’s existence is its skeleton as six lions return to their resting positions for a post-meal nap. The seventh – the lioness who had made the kill to share with her cubs – slowly returns to the thick bush she has left them hidden in – empty-handed.

As the little cubs greet her with excitement, she leads them to a small puddle of water on the ground for a drink. This is all they will get today. But despite returning without a meal, she has at least kept her own strength up to try again tomorrow. And she will succeed.

lion cubs drinking water masai maraThis was one of three groups of lion cubs that kept me endlessly entertained during my week in the northern conservancies of the Masai Mara earlier this year. Saruni Wild provided me with the perfect location and guide to return with great memories of my time with these future kings and queens of the Masai Mara.

These are some of my favourite photos of lion cubs in the Masai Mara.

lion cubs masai masa

lion cubs masai masa

lion cubs masai masa

lion cubs masai masa

lion cubs masai masa

lion cubs masai masa

lion cubs masai masa

lion cubs masai masa

lion cubs masai masa

lion cubs masai masa

lion cubs masai masa

lion cubs masai masa

lion cubs masai masa

lion cubs masai masa

lion cubs masai masa

 

Kellie Netherwood Travel and Photography

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Kellie is a traveller and photographer who is most at home when exploring the world beyond it. Through the intersection of her travel, writing and photography passions, she shares her experiences to inspire others to create there own. The desire to live life instead of existing through it has introduced Kellie to inspirational locations throughout seven continents and from this a passion for landscape and wildlife photography has evolved. She feels a particular connection to the polar regions and Africa. You can see more of her photography at www.kellienetherwoodphotography.com

Comments

  1. Carol Darby says:

    Yet again a beautiful collection of images. How lucky were you to have such a wonderful time with this dedicated mother and her 4 gorgeous babies. I was not so lucky on my visit to Africa last year. But I did have enough wonderful sightings so I certainly can’t complain.

  2. I think all posts which are related to animals or forest living, must be share and i like this post.

  3. Wonderfull collection of image of lions………….

  4. They are so cute, what an amazing experience it must have been.

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