Wednesday, January 22, 2020

The Mara is Blooming With Babies!

As we ring in the new year here in the Mara, we thought that with it would bring the end of the “short rains.” Well, we were wrong. However, despite all of the unfortunate weather, the new year has brought many new things; small, little furry things to be exact. The Mara is blooming with babies!

It seems that every herd, pride and clan has made some new additions. Nearly all the female topis are now accompanied by a small calf, skipping through the grass without a care in the world and wandering maybe a little bit too far from mom. The lionesses are preoccupied with their new cubs who seem to be curious about every foreign object that eventually becomes the coolest new toy. Apparently rocks make for the best ones! The elephant herds are all on guard over their new calves who, with little trunks held high in the air, are figuring out how their strange noses work. Even the last of the zebras that are left in the Mara have a youngster or two to look after.

However, we must give credit where credit is due, and the moms that seem to have the most on their plate right now are our hyenas, of course. The female hyenas’ patience is at an all time high as 10 new cubs run around the den at top speeds, toppling over each other and falling into hidden den holes. Sometimes the moms even become temporary trampolines when the cubs decide to stand on top of them in order obtain better leverage for their sneak attack on their sibling. Often times, the parade of cubs zooming around the den can get a little carried away and venture too far from mom’s sight, disappearing into the tall grass. It's then that poor momma hyena has to get up from her nap, gather all the cubs, and march them back to the safety of the den. We definitely don’t give hyena mothers enough credit in the animal kingdom, but after watching a cub lick and chew on his mother’s face for 15 minutes while she tried so hard to finally get some sleep, there is now no question who wins the award for mother of the year.

Visiting the dens have become what I look forward to most of all since arriving in the Mara. The sight of so many new babies running and playing, much like my puppies at home would do, has been the highlight of my time here so far. I cannot wait to watch these little cubs grow into some of the most successful predators in the Mara. Once they grow into their clumsy big paws of course!

Spirit always seems to be caught in the middle of an unwanted hyena cub pile.

YAM cuddles up to mom, Alfredo, who is still trying to get some beauty sleep amongst all the cub chaos.

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