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KARIBU TENA (Welcome back) Part 3


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There are many Cheetah on Ol Pejeta but they are not easy to find due to the terrain and the conservancy rules which ban off road driving.DSC03084.thumb.JPG.47ef3d073f7d04b3e0842acea5c8f121.JPG Fortunately our driver Sam has a friend who is a ranger on Ol Pejeta. John would phone Sam if he saw any of the cats while he was out on patrol and give us a rough location. This obviously gave us a head start knowing where to look, but we still had to find them, and in the time it took us to get there they would have move quite some distance.

John phoned Sam three times. Twice for Lions, & once for Cheetah. The lions were relatively easy to find as they were resting not too far from the road.DSC03114.thumb.JPG.7b77ac5a8e9d285d6b4be3600bb865f1.JPG The Cheetah was another proposition. It was a mother & two sub adult cubs and they were moving through the whistling thorn bush. When we finally found them mother was on the hunt, with cubs in tow.DSC03054.thumb.JPG.458f4374a664abb0a373c8440c446ccf.JPGDSC03055.thumb.JPG.e5348dd40208d601af734c8466d784fd.JPG She appeared to be focusing on some Thompson Gazelles a little way down in a shallow depression. It was amazing to watch her weave her way through the thorn bush, not ideal terrain for a Cheetah, with the cubs instinctively copying her. DSC03053.thumb.JPG.d02a2a03d41cc0f6c428d97026dd5914.JPGDSC03059.thumb.JPG.4f695f261751746a8a233fac1077a1cb.JPGThe track we were on did not go in the direction of the Gazelles so all we could do was to watch them as they slowly disappeared down into the depression. As far as we could see the Tommie’s had not seen her but not much happened, so we can only assume she had been spotted and moved on to find other prey.

On another evening we found two large male Lions near to Murera donga, they were doing what lions do best, sleeping. I say sleeping, but they were more comatose.DSC02754.thumb.JPG.e84d60ea82ddf8f9bceb3f459ed61c78.JPGDSC02757.thumb.JPG.f18f0cb0e2ba7cfce879c7111ad3b890.JPG Lions do not move much but there is usually a twitch of an ear or a momentary look up on hearing a noise, but these two never moved as much as a whisker all the time we were there, so much so as to cause us for a moment to think, “are they alive?”. We came across them several days later and amazingly the exact same scenario.

We were told there was a lot of commotion behind the Chimpanzee sanctuary and that it was a Cheetah.DSC02782.thumb.JPG.59b097a19ca4a8f9c273da3a5a691441.JPG On arrival, literally outside the back gates, the Chimps inside their secure quarters were screaming. We don’t think they could see the Cheetah, but may have earlier when she caught a young Impala. DSC02905.thumb.JPG.88a44891b5979f28fe321cdb836f9817.JPGTheir natural instincts must have told them this animal is a predator as they would never have had any encounter with a wild cat before. She was resting under a bush, not far from the sanctuary. We could not see any kill, then After a while she got up, sauntered a few meters and settled down to finish her meal.DSC02936.thumb.JPG.c99a3d6d1cb68774350dd55601d96d84.JPG

John made one more call on our penultimate day. It was around 5 O-clock and it was to inform us of a wild dog over on the Ol Pejeta house side of the conservancy. We headed off, crossing the bridge that has a sign which says.........DSC02417.thumb.JPG.17140b4ec456a455c28f866d1f33b43c.JPGand on to the Lodru plains. It was not long before we picked up on a lone figure lying a little way off from the road. In my mind when I hear “wild dog” I immediately think of a pack or maybe 4/5,DSC03100.thumb.JPG.eebe4c2d820b72aca2ceda456f3c5a3b.JPGDSC03098.thumb.JPG.ee1596222e969ab219b1f32ba9d62d13.JPGI was surprised to see just the one. It was a male and we have been told he was born on the conservancy a few years ago. Why was he back? And alone??

He did not stay long and eventually trotted off into the distance where we could not follow.

We made our way back passing through a small valley north of Kicheche camp. The sky was starting to clear and the sunlight lit the valley revealing a large herd of Reticulated Giraffe spread throughout the valley. DSC03138.thumb.JPG.bfb8744154f6880948862d68ab871657.JPGAt first we thought there was only 5/6 Giraffe, then the sunlight revealed 15 more as we scanned the full length of the valley. It was such a beautiful & peaceful scene, one which will stay with me for a long time to come.DSC03131.thumb.JPG.6932d7fa2bfd8e29d3cc97d8c648927c.JPGDSC03132.thumb.JPG.8451001e57ca09a8c87f2ced077627e9.JPG


Edited by PHALANX
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  • 4 months later...

Nice job on those hard to locate cheetah.  The cubs are past the vulnerable stage so hopefully they will venture off on their own and increase the Ol Pejeta cheetah population. Plus much more.

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