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The Peregrine Fund Notes From The Field
Lions, lions, and more lions
Corinne Kendall — in East Africa Project    Share

lion yawnIt has been a week of lions. Everywhere we turned we saw one or the other. Unlike last week’s scrawny injured lioness, the big cats we have seen the last few days have been healthy and well-fed. A 12-member pride with two adult males, a juvenile male, and a female that resembles “Scar” from The Lion King (thanks to a warthog tusk that nearly removed her eye) sat happily with a buffalo kill. Then we saw a lioness with three large cubs – two girls and a boy. We stopped to watch them as they slept along the road. The male cub decided to cross right behind the car and I had a moment of panic as I absorbed the fact that I was only a few feet from such an impressively large animal with the windows open. He stopped just to the right of the car and lied down in the road. With the roof popped open, I stood staring into his deep yellow eyes while snapping a few shots. He yawned – big and I got a nice look at his teeth. When he finally went to join the girls on the other side of the road, his affectionate head rub was welcomed with a snarl from one of the other cubs as he collapsed onto his side for a further nap.

egyptian vultureBut the most exciting sighting of the week was not the lions. It was in fact a rare and endangered bird that I had yet to see in the Mara and which is believed to be effectively extinct in this area. An Egyptian vulture! A beautiful adult sat with some hooded vultures not too far from the buffalo kill. Made famous for their egg-cracking talents (these birds actually use rocks to break open ostrich eggs), this adult sat calmly, totally unaware of the star-struck field biologist that was ogling him. I just couldn’t believe that after five months of fieldwork here, this is the first Egyptian vulture I have seen. I would have loved to have known where this individual had flown in from, but I suppose I will just have to be content with the sighting itself.

Find more articles about Egyptian Vulture, Hooded Vulture, Africa

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