Jewels of the Mara

The Lion

Although often called the “King of the Jungle”, the lion is found in the open grasslands of the Maasai Mara in Kenya. Lions are very social animals, being the only big cat species that live in a group, known as a pride. The average size of a pride is 15. It comprises several related lionesses, up to 4 lions, and young cubs. Lionesses hunt together and take care of their cubs. The lion’s primary role is to protect its pride and territory from other males. Its most recognizable feature is its mane, whose purpose is thought to be the protection of a lion’s neck and throat during fights with its rivals.

The Elephant

The Maasai Mara in Kenya is home to the African Savanna Elephant, the largest living terrestrial mammal. An elephant’s trunk is a very versatile organ that is used for eating & drinking, sniffing, bathing, communicating & touching. Elephants have a very high level of empathy. Those in a herd will acknowledge a female member that has just given birth, by touching the new mother with their trunks. They will also stay for a while, as if in mourning, by the corpse of an old elephant that has died.  An elephant’s gestation period of 22 months is the longest among mammals. The average weight of a newborn elephant is 100 kg (220 lbs).

The Giraffe

There are 9 giraffe subspecies all over the world. The largest one, known as the Maasai Giraffe, is found in the Maasai Mara in Kenya. Its irregular, star-shaped pattern found all over its skin differentiates it from the other subspecies. The Maasai Giraffe averages 5.5m to 6.0m (18.0ft to 19.7ft) in height. Its elongated neck has an average length of 2.0m to 2.4m (6.6ft to 7.9ft). A giraffe moves by walking or galloping. It walks by first moving the legs of one side of its body at the same time, then doing the same on the other side. It gallops by moving its back legs forward around its front legs, thereafter moving its front legs forward.

The Rhino

Its formal name – Rhinoceros – is of Greek derivation meaning “nose-horned”. There are 5 rhino species, 2 of them native to Africa and 3 to Southern Asia. The African species are the White and Black Rhino, whose names are misleading as they both have similar yellowish-brown to grey body hues. They are differentiated by the shape and structure of their mouth, and by body size – with the White Rhino being the bigger one. Both species have 2 horns, as does the Sumatran Rhino of Asia. The Indian and Javan Rhinos of Asia each have 1 horn. The Black Rhino is one of the wildlife features of the famed Maasai Mara in Kenya.