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The Lone Lioness - "Mica The Mighty"- Article by Gareth Jones

The Lone Lioness – “Mica The Mighty”- Article by Gareth Jones


For many years my chosen route to work and back was through the Nairobi National Park, and as a result I have had thousands of game drives. Naturally I have had many lion sightings, however there was one lone lioness in particular who really made an impression on me. Her name was Mica, over quite a few years she demonstrated just how determined and strong willed she was to survive, no matter what the circumstances. Mica was a very good hunter, very skilled at stalking and very powerful when killing prey. Eventually I renamed her “Mica the Mighty”. She had a number of cubs, but sadly most of them did not survive. Once again indicating just how difficult it is for a lone lioness to try and bring up a family without the support of a pride.

(An extract from my diary in April 2013) – I watched Mica with her family for some time late one afternoon this week, her two young cubs were lying next to her, however I was glad to see her two older (2 yr & 2 month old) offspring lying nearby, Raffie and Elsie. Raffie had a very swollen mouth, possibly caused by a porcupine quill that lodged in his mouth last week, he is still very thin but is slightly better then when I last saw him. Elsie is also looking thin, as I had not seen her for a few months, however she was limping badly! But the cubs seemed to be really enjoying the wet conditions, as they played games like “catch me if you can”, & “jump the puddle”, and “catch the tail”. It was delightful to just sit and watch them as they played in and around the muddy road. They also tried to play with the older lions like Raffie and even Mica. When watching the cubs play, it is easy to reflect on the old English saying “as playful as a kitten” being applicable to lion cubs as well. The joyful mood of the cubs seemed to lift the sombre mood of the other lions, much like young human children often lift our spirits at times.

As it began to get darker, Mica suddenly decided it was time to go, and I watched them as they walked off, past the No. 5 junction stone sign, and eastward past the lone tree.

Sadly Raffie & Elsie were also small cubs about two years ago and now they are both struggling, they did not survive.

(An extract from my diary in October 2012) Driving through the park on a Saturday afternoon I suddenly noticed a lioness walking towards the lone tree, after arriving at the tree, she amazingly actually climbed up the small tree, and then proceeded to give low roaring calls, within minutes two large cubs came running through the grass, and stopped below the tree, as if to say “Hi Mom, have you seen dinner yet?”. It is rare to see lions up trees, and especially up a tree like the lone tree, yet amazingly over a period of about 10 years I have personally seen lions up this tree on two occasions, the other incident involved a young lion climbing up and then his mother standing on her hind legs as if trying to get him to come down .…..The history of the park and this particular tree is interesting, the area at one time was an open wild area, and during the 2nd World War was used by the RAF for target bombing, legend has it that a shell landed at the tree site and killed some lions, and it is strange that to this day lions still often frequent to area around this tree. The tree that stands near No. 5 junction today is a replacement of the original tree.

Late one afternoon as I approached the East gate, I received a text message stating “Mica has just killed a zebra in the road near No. 6 dam”. I immediately drove there to find Mica panting heavily due to her hunting efforts. After resting a while she allowed her 3 cubs to first feast on the zebra carcass. I sat quietly and watched them “eat & play” with the carcass. As the light began to fade, Mica decided that she was not going to leave the zebra on the road. In a demonstration of her incredibly powerful strength, she grabbed the heavy zebra carcass in her jaws, and proceeded to pull it up the incline on the side of the road, and over the top. Wow, what a sight to witness, as the cubs scattered while she moved the zebra carcass.

Sadly “Mica the Mighty” is no longer alive, but her legacy lives on. In some ways she is an example of how us humans should live life. No matter how tough her circumstances, Mica prevailed and survived a number of seemingly impossible situations in the wild. Us humans should not give up too easily when facing tough situations in life, especially when we know that what we are doing will help others in a good way. We also have the added advantage of calling out to God in prayer, to make a way where there seems no way.

RIP – Mica the mighty.

The park is open daily from 06h00 to 19h00.



Gareth JonesGareth Jones – Nairobi Park Dairy – A passionate writer & photographer