Lilies Of The Field

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A safe distance from the city….where the concrete ends….in the Silole Sanctuary

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Wild flowers & shrubs are in bloom….this is one of the commonest species on the plains Cyphia glandulifera

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Shrubs are also in blossom, the most spectacularly obvious being the bright scarlet Pentas parvifolia. The lovely Clerodendrum myricoides is also in flower, as is the blue Plectanthrus barbatus

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This is a very common wee blue Pentas sp. common on the plains

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Semi-parasitic Cycnium sp. cover the plains like so much tissue paper, both pink & white

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Suburban Lions

Lion stories from Nairobi are old-hat. Stories of “lions -on -the -racecourse” or lions in the Industrial Area were common in the 70’s, before the Park was fenced.

But Nairobi is very much bigger nowadays (& lions much less…) & although the park is fenced along it’s northern, eastern & western borders it comes right up against the fastest growing township in the country (a settlement that didn’t exist in the 70’s!!) to the south, where it is separated from the Masai Lodge sector of Ongata Rongai by the Mbagathi River…

Last saturday at 10.30 pm a friend of mine was driving home along the (southern) ridge parallel to the park, when, in the middle of a built-up area (close to AIC Diguna) he came across a lioness with 3 large cubs, on a kill……

This was “Gammy-Leg”, a lioness with a withered rear leg & I have recently seen her in the park with her 3 cubs (what an excellent mother: she lives apart from the main 14  individual lion NNP pride & has had to hunt & nurture these 3 cubs on her own!); all of them looking rather thin.

My friend could not see what the kill consisted of, but as there is no wildlife in built-up areas, I deduce it must have been a dog. Now whilst applauding Gammy-Leg’s opportunism, this habit of hunting in ‘human areas’ is very dangerous, both for her & her learning cubs, bcause sooner or later somebody or something (livestock, a family pet) will get hurt & the lions will face retribution….

To illustrate the point, as my friend watched the feeding lions, a drunken old man staggered up & had to be bundled into the car to prevent an incident.

NNP Lions

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Here are some fantastic pictures taken over the last year in the park, showing how well the lions in NNP are doing:many thanks to GARETH JONES, the photographer…..

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A lioness in prime condition dragging her zebra kill along close to Hyena Dam

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Talk about an investment in the future:look at all those lions!

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I love this shot, Gareth, showing our resident dominant male with one of the at least 5 adult lionesses we have in the park.

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Lion fun at Lone Tree! Nice one Gareth!

NNP:Wet Season

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NNP has at least 130 Masai giraffe within it’s fast dwindling ecosystem.

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Here’s a close -up of one of the many young giraffe in the park.

The patchwork of acacia woodland that characterises the park is perfect habitat for giraffe.

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A very successful hatch for these Egyptian geese at the Athi Dam.

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As somebody said to me recently, there must be a hole in the fence: referring to all the fences out in the dispersal area. Our resident population of wildebeeste has nearly doubled to 278, counted in October. This is fantastic news & what is even better, the short grass habitat now available over much of the park owing to the KWS policy of controlled burning should keep these gni in the park, together with the gazelle species, who do not like long grass…

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The park, with it’s selection of dams & wetlands, is a notable breeding sanctuary for Crowned Cranes

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There are about 3,000 plains zebra in the park & dispersal area.

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