September 2023

A September fireside chat

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A September fireside chat

This photo is of one of the two dominant lions who hold a territory that includes Sabora Tented Camp. Just before the rains this male and his brother spent a week in front of the camp mating with the lionesses that form part of the Sabora Pride. Both guests and staff were fortunate to see them frequently right out in the open from the main camp area. It was a very memorable experience for all.

The zebra numbers grew to a few thousand every day drinking at Sasakwa Dam, prior to the rains arriving. Sitting quietly on the opposite side of the dam and listening to all their noises and commotion was a great experience.

Another interesting thing we have noticed while spending time with the zebra is that some of the stallions have very short manes. As you can see in these pictures the mane is uniformly short and it isn’t as a result of stallions fighting or poor health. We have only noticed stallions with these short manes – not many but more than one realises if you start looking for them. We have shown the photos to the Grumeti Fund, RISE researchers and they have shown a lot of interest in this.

Maneless zebra, Equus quagga borensis, are found in north-western Kenya (from Uasin Gishu and Lake Baringo) to the Karamoja district of Uganda. They are not recorded in the Serengeti. The zebra recorded in the Serengeti are Grant's zebra, Equus quagga boehmi. Is it possible that there is a hybrid sub-sub species within the Serengeti herds? Hopefully some DNA testing can help us answer that question.

The manes look as if they have been shaved with clippers. You can compare the patterns on the necks of these two zebras to see that they are different individuals.

Grant Telfer
By Grant Telfer
Head of Guide Training