The lions of Lake Nakuru NP sleep in the trees

You may have noticed that there are a lot more photos of predators, and that the predators look a lot fatter, in my recent photos from Kenya, as compared to my photos from Tsavo NP earlier this year. The reason for this has a lot to do with the size of the parks, and whether they’re fenced off. Tsavo NP is a park the size of Lebanon, though it is divided by a railroad, and the densities of the animals within it are thus a lot lower. In Lake Nakuru NP and the Maasai Mara, the parks are a lot smaller, and fenced off. For this reason, the densities of the herbivores (buffalo, wildebeest etc) are a lot higher. Sometimes the population size of the predators is also tightly controlled (some of the lions are given contraceptives for example).

Lake Nakuru NP is a very small park with a fence around it and the densities of the buffalo within have, in the past, gotten so high that a disease was able to wipe out a large proportion of the animals (because disease spreads so quickly when population densities are high). Another interesting feature of these high buffalo densities is that the buffalo sometimes bully the predators, often injuring or killing them.

For this reason, the lions of Nakuru NP have developed an interesting behaviour…they sleep in the trees! Our guide told us that this behaviour is unique to Nakuru…a behavioural adaptation to changing environmental conditions.

Pretty neat!
Lions of Nakuru NP
Lions of Nakuru NP
Lions of Nakuru NP
Of course, we did see some lions lyin on the ground in Lake Nakuru NP, looking spectacularly unworried about the buffalo threat. The population density of the buffalo is in flux, so I suppose the lions respond accordingly.
Lions of Nakuru NP

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Lions of the Maasai Mara

I had the privilege of seeing quite a few lions when we were traveling around the Maasai Mara. Here are some of my better photos from there…

Maasai Mara Lions
This lion just looks so happy
Maasai Mara Lions
A lot of the lions look like they’re about to sneeze
Maasai Mara Lions
Maasai Mara Lions
Does the spottiness mean they are juveniles? I am not a mammologist
Maasai Mara Lions
One of my faves
Maasai Mara Lions
Too many tourists!
Maasai Mara Lions
Another lion that looks like it’s about to sneeze
Maasai Mara Lions
Maasai Mara Lions
Camera shy
Maasai Mara Lions
I bet you didn’t think you needed to see a lion butt today but now you know
Maasai Mara Lions
Just lion* around
Maasai Mara Lions
Hmmmm

*Pun intended

A golden eagle for SoundEagle

One of my blog friends requested an eagle drawing/painting, so here’s a golden eagle for SoundEagle! Painting is fun, but I couldn’t get the feathers quite the way I wanted. Eventually, I decided messing with them more would only worsen the situation haha.

GoldenEagle

There you go, SoundEagle, I hope you like it!

Jackals in Tsavo NP

Jackals
The thing that surprised me most about seeing jackals in the wild for the first time this January was how beautiful they are. I guess jackal is a slang term with a kind of negative connotation, so I always grew up under the false assumption that jackals were ugly. Then I saw one in Tsavo…and it was gorgeous. Then I saw a second one, because as my friend George told me, they always travel in pairs.
Jackals
Jackals
Jackals
Jackals
I thought I posted these before, but I couldn’t find the post, so I guess not! It alarms me how often that happens…
Jackals
He looks so happy about it

A bunch of big, fat cheetahs

Okay, maybe that’s a bit mean, but the predators of the Maasai Mara were fat, at least compared to the lean, lean cheetah I saw in Tsavo earlier this year. We were lucky enough to watch this group of five/four? rather chubby cheetahs choke and devour a wildebeest in the Maasai Mara on the recent field course I taught in Kenya.

I also learned that there’s such a thing as TOO MANY cheetah photos, which I didn’t know was possible. But I took approximately a million of this gory scene. (WARNING: Nature red in tooth and claw ahead!)

Cheetahs in the Maasai Mara
Cheetahs in the Maasai Mara
One of them had a GPS collar…maybe how our guides found them?
Cheetahs in the Maasai Mara
Cheetahs in the Maasai Mara
Cheetahs in the Maasai Mara
Cheetahs in the Maasai Mara
Cheetahs in the Maasai Mara
Me, when I get into a box of strawberries. Also, do you see how fat they are?
Cheetahs in the Maasai Mara
😛