Africa

The Masai Mara Lion Cubs. Where Are They Now?

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Cubs can be a little needy now and then. This one of five youngsters was desperate to play with his mother.

The sad reality of the wild is that just because something is alive today, it doesn’t mean it will be alive tomorrow. Now you might say that’s no different from anywhere else, and technically, I suppose that’s true. But on average, if a person has a child, it’s not the norm for other people to try to kill it.

In the bush, babies are constantly at risk from environmental pressures, predators, and in the case of lions, adult males that have no use for cubs that aren’t their own. Last year, when I was in the Masai Mara, we photographed over several days, two adult females and their seven oh-so-scrumptious cubs.

Lioness roars at cub, while other cubs nurse in the Masai Mara, Kenya

lion cub climbs a bush with lioness looking on in Masai Mara, Kenya

lion cub in a bush in Masai Mara, Kenya

Once home, I looked at pictures of the cubs and wondered if they were OK.  How many were alive two weeks later? Two months? Six months later? I’d search posts from friends who were there and breathe a sigh of relief when I’d see them on Facebook. But as time went by, everyone I knew left the Mara and life went on. Sadly, I just assumed that they wouldn’t all make it.

Year old lions in under tree in the Masai Mara, Kenya

Fast forward to this past September, when I returned to Kenya and the Mara Triangle. We were watching a pride of lions resting under a tree and suddenly the cubs came to mind. I asked Sammy, our guide, if he knew anything about the fate of the cubs from the year prior. He pointed at the big lions in front of us and said chuckling, those ARE the cubs!

What?! In my head they were still small, well, maybe a smidge bigger, but THAT  big? Whoa!

And the best news of all: all of them had survived!



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16 replies »

  1. I didn’t want to read this because, well, you know. I’m not sure why I did read to the end instead of just looking at the pictures. But! Happiness! They all survived. That top picture has to be the most adorable thing ever, even though both could rip me to shreds in an instant.

  2. Seeing cubs or other youngsters in the wild makes me want to stay forever and watch them grow. How fortunate you got to see them all. And you really captured some moods here.

    • Right? I was so surprised frankly. With seven cubs I completely expected that at least of few would have met their end over the last months. I was thrilled that was not the case. 🙂

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