Survival in the Masai Mara: Moja the Lion Cub.
Many of you may not have been fortunate enough to view the BBC Planet Earth Live Television show which was broadcasted in the Spring. Camera crews and television presenters followed various animals from many parts of the planet throughout the whole month of May, a month so critical in the survival of young animals born into this world. The BBC episodes were like on going news stories, only it was broadcasted three times per week and it was all about the wild animals.
One particular story which had captured many people’s imaginations (and their hearts) was that of a little lion cub, Moja, and his Mother. For reasons unknown, these two majestic creatures found themselves completely alone on the plains of the Masai Mara, in Kenya. They were not a part of any prides in the region and were constantly in danger of attacks from lionesses and lions from these prides roaming the lands, hunting for food.
Moja was single-handedly raised by her devoted Mum, with no support and protection whatsoever from any other lions in a pride, and poor Moja was a lone cub with no siblings to play with. He was regularly filmed chewing on sticks and wrestling with his Mother, who doesn’t always want to be playful. Naturally, her mind was always focused on survival and the welfare of her only cub.
Moja was close to being weaned off her milk, but he was likely not getting the much needed nutrients because in the month of May, food is typically scarce on the grassy plains. The mass migration of animals such as the wildebeest and buffalo has yet to begin.
Lions hunt in the night as they are predominantly night time predators who then sleep through the blazing hot days. Not Moja’s Mum. She has had to adapt to hunting during the sheering heat of the day to avoid the threat of any lions in the cover of darkness. She would sit on high rocks or in the trees, waiting and watching. The only real prey in the area was the warthog and after having consumed so much energy chasing these fast creatures, she would finally make the kill. Standing over the lifeless body, she would pant from sheer exhaustion of the chase and the relentless heat from the African sun. Her work was not over, however, as she now had to drag the kill near to where she left Moja, alone and vulnerable while she hunted. Finally, they could both eat after several days of little or no food.
Their feasts were never a quiet and peaceful affair because there were always unwelcome guests. Hyenas and vultures. The Mother would try her best to fend them off and away from her cub and their kill, but eventually they would have to abandon their food because of the overwhelming numbers surrounding her and Moja.
Sadly, the television show drew to an end at the end of May and since then, nobody really knows what has happened to little Moja and his Mother. One can only hope that they are both alive and well, and that one day, Moja will eventually become the proud leader of a pride in the Masai Mara.
As for his Mum, she may never be accepted into a pride and will forever be in danger of her life. But whatever her fate may be, no one can ever doubt the devotion and determination of this extraordinary lioness.
Images courtesy of the BBC. Youtube video courtesy of the BBC and narutoscarletXxx. Many thanks.
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