Stills Photography

Plus ça change

There’s something really wonderful about going back time and time again to the same location. You notice small changes and sometimes larger ones too. I’ve just been back in the Masai Mara filming for the BBC Natural History Unit’s new landmark series “One Planet”. It’s been two years exactly since Planet Earth Live and there’d been changes, Sadly as we were flying in the first thing I noticed were the many new camps blighting the landscape, a really terrible development of an already overused resource. Other things don’t change at all, the feeling of ease from sleeping under canvas, the bird and insect song, the huge skies – a gorgeous reality check after the chaos of city life.

May is usually considered the wet season, two years ago we were virtually underwater with very little about, this year not a drop had fallen bringing thousands and thousands of zebra, topi and even wildebeestes into the park. We weren’t filming lion but often went back to camp via what’s known as ‘Miti ya nyuki’ or the bees tree, a stunning fig where during Planet Earth Live Moja and Nyota had done their fair share of scanning for warthog. Whilst heading home one day we spotted the odd dangle of feline leg in the tree and dashed over. There, with an almost mane, was a healthy and relaxed young male lion, it’s where we’d left him but could it be? We confirmed using whisker spots ID from two years prior that sure enough it was Moja…it couldn’t be anyone else, a total yoga cat. A moment of pure joy, he’d made it thus far and looks like he’s thriving.