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Drama in the Mara!

Lion in a blanket?
Lion in a blanket?

By Anne Kent Taylor

 

“As in human populations, territorial  “punch-ups” frequently occur in the Animal Kingdom.   On January 17th, 2014 , in Kenya’s Masai Mara,  two lion prides tangled over their territorial rights, and a kill, resulting in one three month old cub becoming separated from her mother and pride.  One would assume that this was an automatic death sentence for this cub – but not so! A few days later, she was spotted by Governor’s Camp head driver, Moses, cowering in a wild gardenia tree….that way , keeping safe from the attentions of roving hyena clans which would have killed her in a nano-second.  She clearly had a very strong sense of survival and hope was restored that she could perhaps survive if she was reunited with her family. Alas, the following day she had disappeared  again and everyone’s concern was evident as to her fate.  Nevertheless, The Governor’s Camp team spent hours in the field trying to find her again and miracle of miracles they spotted her once again on January 24th- still alive and healthy!

The Anne K.Taylor Fund team leader, Elias, managed to contact the  local  Kenya Wildlife Service vet’s assistant, Felix, who is supported by the Sheldrick Wildlife Trust( whom we have assisted with many an animal rescue). In turn he contacted Governors Camp manager, Patrick Reynolds who had been monitoring the situation closely since the cub went missing.  Decisions were hard to make as the odds of survival were questionable.  The cub alone would surely not have survived as it was still milk dependent and without the protection of the pride it would have been easy pickings for any passing carnivore – or indeed some of the herbivores which would have taken great delight in killing a lion, their enemy – but if it could be returned to its mother and pride,  it may be rejected  as it would be covered with human scent. In our opinion,  it was worth a gamble!

In agreement with the County of Narok rangers it was decided to attempt a rescue.   Felix drove for many miles to meet up with Patrick and Moses – at which time the cub had gone missing yet again! (Rescues of any sort are never easy as wild animals go where they please!)….finally just before dark she was located again and the rescue began. As you can imagine,  after a few challenges in “capturing” the cub in a blanket, (!) she was released near her mother – and immediately bolted into the bushes and the outcome was not certain.    As it was now dark the team had to leave the pride and hope against hope that the cub would not be rejected by the pride or her mother.

Lost cub up a tree — photo by Moses Manduku
Lost cub up a tree — photo by Moses Manduku

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At first light, the team returned and joy! Joy!  the cub and her siblings were all together with their mother and it is, for now, a happy ending.  I wondered aloud why the lioness would not have gone looking for her missing cub . Patrick put it into perspective for me “Anne, he said, lions cannot count ” !  Thus one missing cub probably went unnoticed….I had never thought of that concept before but it made me even happier that the rescue was successful and the cub was back in the pride with no thanks to her mother!  Only the strongest survive in the wild!

Back with mum
Back with mum

My personal thanks go to all who were involved with the rescue of this lion cub – the compassion shown by Sheldrick’s Felix and his KWS associate were noteworthy.  For them, it is not “just a job” but a  passion and a commitment. Without the  perseverance of Patrick Reynolds, head guide Moses and other  Governor’s Camp staff  this cub would not have had a chance of survival.  It now will grow to be an integral part of the Masai Mara ecosystem, perhaps helping to ensure the very survival of this threatened species, without which Africa would not be the same.  I cannot imagine an Africa without the roar of these magnificent animals with which we have the privilege of sharing this earth.

My sincere thanks to Will Fortescue for these photographs and to Moses Manduku of Governors Camp.

Comments

  1. sheila gunning
    ireland
    March 7, 2014, 11:48 am

    What a happy ending to an amazing tale.Well done all involved.

  2. christina wickstein
    new york, usa
    February 15, 2014, 4:33 am

    thank you all for what you do:) your blessed:) amen

  3. Minh Nguyen
    San Jose,California
    February 15, 2014, 12:09 am

    Great story!
    I am running a bootcamp for the month of February and I am donating all on my income to help save big cats!

  4. Nizam Jeeawody
    Mauritius
    February 12, 2014, 11:51 pm

    Thanks for this inspiring article .Hats off for this great job .Looking after God”s creatures is part of faith.

  5. anne kent taylor
    February 12, 2014, 4:51 am

    Thank you all for following this story and for the positive comments. It is nice to be able to report happy news. The lioness and cubs are still all together. It was certainly worth the effort of all who helped with this rescue!

  6. Chris Kosier
    Los Angeles, CA
    February 11, 2014, 2:36 pm

    What a wonderful reunion this must have been. Great job for persevering!

  7. Chris Kosier
    Los Angeles, CA
    February 11, 2014, 2:35 pm

    What I wouldn’t give to be able to help in this way. What a beautiful reunion this must have been.

  8. M.D.Williams
    Calicut, India
    February 11, 2014, 12:34 pm

    I really appreciate your dedication and courage.Keep it up. God bless.

  9. Nesma Amr
    February 11, 2014, 2:18 am

    How amazing <3

  10. Devika Rani
    New Delhi , India
    February 10, 2014, 11:37 pm

    Wow that was a great effort to rescue the cub. I wonder how expensive the tagging and tracking system can be as the numbers for lions and tigers are decreasing for sure because of habitat loss or human-animal conflicts.

  11. Jacinta Edebeli
    Australia
    February 10, 2014, 9:54 pm

    Great job! Thank you and keep up the good work.

  12. Robert Boutin
    United States
    February 10, 2014, 8:54 pm

    Thank-you for all you do to save the wildlife…..our grandkids will get to see them….

  13. Guenwyvar
    February 10, 2014, 7:00 pm

    Bless all of you for saving that precious little cub !!

  14. Abu Daud
    Indonesia
    February 10, 2014, 6:57 pm

    Hard work and team work very well with through danger and sacrifice of time, finally maximum results, continue to struggle comrade!

  15. Abu Daud
    Indonesia
    February 10, 2014, 6:48 pm

    Hard work and excellent teamwork by taking the danger and expense of wakru finally yielded maximum results, keep fighting man!

  16. Diane Leuck
    Indiana USA
    February 10, 2014, 5:23 pm

    What a wonderful story. Africa ‘s wildlife is some of the most exotic and beautiful in the world. We must save them from extinction.

  17. Nancy
    USA
    February 10, 2014, 5:12 pm

    Stories like this touch me deeply; I applaud and support all efforts to save these magnificent animals.
    (Cats are the best, of course.)

  18. bonnie smith
    USA
    February 10, 2014, 3:49 pm

    It’s always great to hear a positive outcome like this.
    Every one of these animals is precious and a gift to
    anyone who has the pleasure of seeing them in the
    wild.
    Good work and thank you for all the work that you do!

  19. annette buckby
    Cape Town
    February 10, 2014, 3:25 pm

    This is a such a heart warming story, a happy ending !

  20. Jaak Ryffranck
    Belgium
    February 10, 2014, 3:17 pm

    Very touching story and hopeful that there are people with such passionate commitment to saveguard this symbol of Africa.

  21. M. Diane Ryan
    USA
    February 10, 2014, 3:16 pm

    Great outcome for those that were able to save that cub. We are thankful for their wonderful efforts on the part of all the lions there. That baby is back with its Momma where she should be thanks to them. Great job!!!

  22. Annabelle Kinnear
    England
    February 10, 2014, 2:59 pm

    What a wonderful story. I am so pleased mother, baby & siblings where reunited. Thank you to the awsome people for your continuous & relentless hard work. We need to protect these beautiful cats at all costs.

  23. Sagar Jani
    Canada
    February 10, 2014, 2:57 pm

    Amazing work, keep up the fight to save the last of these amazing animals

  24. Christine R Daoust
    USA
    February 10, 2014, 2:35 pm

    If I was a wealthy person I would give 3/4 of my money to saving and protecting these beautiful animals. Thank all of you from my heart and soul!

  25. DeeDee McMillan
    Montana, USA
    February 10, 2014, 2:28 pm

    A very heartfelt thank you to each person involved! This kind of passion and commitment gives me hope that we will indeed be able to save our big cats.

  26. R.N
    February 2, 2014, 1:32 pm

    Happy ending

  27. Lane Hatcher
    San Antonio, TX
    January 30, 2014, 7:10 pm

    You all, every one, ROCK. THANK YOU.

  28. Melinda Mueller
    Canada
    January 30, 2014, 3:17 pm

    Every single lion is precious! I am SO GRATEFUL to the many dedicated people who gave the little baby girl every chance to reunite with her mama and sibling. This is a wonderful story….and a rare spot of good news that we are all so very hungry for these days….

  29. Julia Sinclair
    UK
    January 30, 2014, 10:39 am

    Perfect for an unusual bedtime story for my granddaughter!
    Wonderful effort by all.
    I suppose it’s lucky animals can’t count very well – it must save them a lot of distress which would waste a lot of their valuable energy needed for survival.?

  30. Linda Willis
    Toronto, Ontario, Canada
    January 30, 2014, 7:46 am

    Thank-you for your patience and compassion for this situation. God bless !

  31. Lucy Fortescue
    England
    January 29, 2014, 3:28 pm

    Well done William, you are so clever!

    Carry on doing what do!

  32. Rochelle Spagnola
    United States
    January 29, 2014, 12:03 pm

    Amazing Story!!!!!!!

  33. Dana
    USA
    January 29, 2014, 10:02 am

    Thank you for this article. Many of us on Facebook groups were worried sick about the little cub. Hope this little one has learned it’s lesson about straying from Mom. Question – why do the people involved in the rescue not wear gloves to avoid human scent? Cudo’s to ALL those involved in this rescue!!!

  34. James Dunn
    London
    January 29, 2014, 3:27 am

    An amazing story – the professionalism of the teams at Governors Camp, the Sheldrick Wildlife Trust and Kenya Wildlife Service should all be highly praised.

  35. Alison Fitzgerald
    Kruger Park South Africa
    January 29, 2014, 2:40 am

    Fantastic news. Well done. It is so good to get some good news with all the poaching and killing of wildlife in Africa. You restore the balance of faith in man! Thank you.

  36. Judy Tipton
    USA
    January 29, 2014, 2:18 am

    Thank you for sharing this awesome story & the pics to go with it. Thank you also for rescuing the cub. We need lions!
    I would love to return to Governors Camp & see all the changes you’ve made over the years. Maybe someday soon.
    Again, asante sana for being “Earths Angels”!!

  37. Hema Desai
    Zambia
    January 29, 2014, 1:54 am

    Thank you all for saving one precious cub…