Since photographing the White-bearded wildebeest migration and Mara river crossing in the Mara Triangle a few years ago I have been thinking about the Masai Mara and Serengeti lion populations that are left behind when the abundance of food moves on. Because of strict lion protocol lions are mostly bound by territorial boundaries and can not simply move with the vast herds of wildebeest, zebra and Thomson Gazelles.
So for starters, how do the lions of the Mara Triangle survive. This question was answered during our green season visit to Kichwa in January 2015. They harvest large numbers warthog piglets for one! But what was the situation on the southern side of the Mara river in north western Serengeti? How would lions adapt to the void that the migration left on their food supply?
The simple answer to this question is that they do not have to adapt in anyway. Although the overwhelming number of wildebeest are still in the south where most of the calving and lambing activity takes place (March – April) or in the north in Masai Mara (August – October), a vast number of resident White-bearded wildebeest, Burchell Zebra and Topi remain in the Grumeti area. On our game drives we have encountered what must surely be one of the biggest prides of lions on earth. We had the privilege to be introduced to 50+ current pride members scattered across the savannah in smaller groups. What we understood from local guides is that they occasionally all get together once the full migration reach the northern Serengeti.
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