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Cat Up a Tree

By Corinne Kendall
August 8, 2011
File under: Animal Behavior, Animal Sightings, Animal Stories, Wildlife

I’m back in the Mara and what a spectacular field season it is looking to be. The wildebeest have returned in great numbers and have been crossing the Mara river every few days. Lions are looking healthier than ever and several mating pairs have been seen.

On my first day back, I managed to see a beautiful Black rhino mom and baby relaxing peacefully in the shade. In the afternoon, we came upon one of my favorite small cats – the serval. Sleek and slim it was sneaking through the grass in search of some unsuspecting songbird.

Elephants have been plentiful with some adorable small babies witnessing their first wildebeest migration. I suspect the little ellies are also amazed by the number of odd-looking new neighbors that have moved in. Huge buffalo, topi, and eland herds have also graced the plains as well as the zebra who dutifully follow the wildebeest. So I had nearly seen all the big five in just the first few days, the only one missing was one of my favorite cats.

We came upons a small pride of lions resting under a tree in the marshy area not too far from Musiara Gate. The lions were sleeping so I was ready to go when we noticed that there was more going on here then had initially met the eye.

The tree the lions were sleeping under wasn’t empty. In fact way at the highest branch (which was particularly high, perhaps 20 meters, on this tall Wahlbergia) lay a nervous mother leopard.

Though we would later be told that two small cubs had accompanied her in this desperate escape up the tree, we only saw the mother. She was in a real pickle as there would be no way for her to go down with those lions below.  One could only hope that the larger cats would take mercy on her and give her some room.

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