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Cheetah mum and cub Mara North Conservancy June 2012

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Cheetah mum and cub Mara North Conservancy June 2012

Post  Safariman on Fri Jul 20, 2012 3:50 pm

After all the depressing news on the Cheetah Chatter thread, I thought I would post some pics of HAPPY cheetahs seen on my recent visit to the Mara.
Setting out on our morning drive after over night rain, we decided to head in the direction of the Mara River which forms the eastern boundary on the far side of the Conservancy. With the very long grass there was not too much activity visible with the exception of numerous male widowbirds with their very long breeding plumage tails performing their strange bouncing mating dance (the way all males do!!) in the hope of attracting a female. We did see a large herd of buffalo who seemed intent on ejecting an elderly male from the herd to finish his days as a grumpy and very dangerous solitary old bull.
Getting closer to the river the grass became shorter due to the grazing of the Masai cattle who share the Conservancy with the wildlife. The shorter grass is preferred by the antelope and we started to see plenty of topi, Thompson and Grants gazelle, eland and the occasional warthog family. We stopped for a leisurely picnic breakfast surrounded by a small herds of resident wildebeest and zebra calmly grazing and ignoring our presence.We thought we would head to Leopard Gorge to try our luck but as we were packing up the remains of our breakfast we could see in the distance (actually it was Kaapen our eagle eyed spotter who could see) what looked like cat activity. Hastily driving in that direction we were delighted to find a cheetah mum and a single cub probably about 7/8 months old playing in the long grass. They took it in turns to chase and try and catch each other before rolling over in the grass and pretending to fight. They were having great fun but it obviously had a serious side as the mum was trying to teach her offspring the art of hunting and killing a prey. Normally when there is more than one cub the cubs would play together learning their hunting skills and it must have been hard work for this mum having to teach her cub and also put food on the table. It would be several months before the cub would be capable of hunting on its own; if it managed to survive. Sadly the survival rate of cheetah cubs is not very high.
As the cheetahs disappeared into the long grass we headed off to Leopard Gorge - but no leopards only a pair of Verreaux's Eagle Owls.
Safariman














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Re: Cheetah mum and cub Mara North Conservancy June 2012

Post  Laikipia on Fri Jul 20, 2012 4:59 pm

WOW Safariman, great photos and a lovely story. Kaapen is such a star! How wonderful to have been able to watch them. The survival rate is poor which is why every cheetah is so precious.

Lai
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Re: Cheetah mum and cub Mara North Conservancy June 2012

Post  whitestarling on Fri Jul 20, 2012 10:32 pm

Your right Safariman after some of the news we've had about Cheetahs, and the Lion in Egypt we could really do with cheering up, and your post certainly hits the mark.
Great photos, and its wonderful to see Mother, and Cub in such a natural state just living their lives in such a carefree moment enjoying thier relationship, and that comes through in the photos you took. As you both say the survival rate is so very low 90% of Cubs dont make it. I really hope
that the Cub made it to become another adult member of the species in the Mara, we certainly need as many as possable
WS

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Re: Cheetah mum and cub Mara North Conservancy June 2012

Post  RMorr50912 on Fri Jul 20, 2012 11:45 pm

Excellent photos and I really enjoy knowing the story behind them. It really is nice to see these two playing around and simply taking a moment to enjoy life together, though as you say, these are important life lessons. With all the bad news coming in seemingly every time we turn around this really is a wonderful reminder of why I really enjoy these beautiful animals.
Thanks so much Safariman for sharing such a wonderful moment.

Ronnie
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Re: Cheetah mum and cub Mara North Conservancy June 2012

Post  littlewid on Sat Jul 21, 2012 11:28 pm

Well those photo's certainly cheer you up safariman, what a delight they are to see, they both look so happy and carefree with their play don't they, which is always such a lovely thing to see, it must have been wonderful watching them like that. It must be hard though for a cub not to have any siblings to play with and learn with and also for mum who has to be mum, provider, protector and also playmate, but these two seem to be doing just fine. Thanks for putting a smile on our faces with those pics Very Happy

I must say, I love Buff boys so it was a bit sad to know an elderly Buff Boy was being kicked out the herd......hope he fared ok.......Buff Boy is a term Lai and I used on a cam when it had regular Buff Boys......a fond nickname for them I love you

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Re: Cheetah mum and cub Mara North Conservancy June 2012

Post  Safariman on Sun Jul 22, 2012 11:04 am

Littlewid, its the younger bulls in the herd who kick out the old guys who then have to look after themselves. Quite often they will link up with other old guys to form small groups of half-a-dozen or so. These are the ones you have to be wary of if you are walking in the bush, they are probably the most dangerous of all the big five. In southern Africa they call these groups of old buffalo "dagga boys". Dagga is one of the names Africans use for marijuana, which conjures up a picture of these old boys hanging around in groups, wallowing in mud, telling stories and smoking pot!!



One of the 'Dagga boys'
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Re: Cheetah mum and cub Mara North Conservancy June 2012

Post  Laikipia on Sun Jul 22, 2012 1:09 pm

Laughing Safariman. A great photo of one of the buff boys. They are a formidable sight and as you say, the lone ones are the ones to watch out for.

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Re: Cheetah mum and cub Mara North Conservancy June 2012

Post  littlewid on Sun Jul 22, 2012 10:43 pm

safariman that explanation almost makes it sound like fun to be kicked out of the group, what a way to while away your days, mind you it makes me want to rename them the Marley Boys after Bob, after going to one of his concerts just before he died there was lots of "Dagga" in the air (not from me I must say) and it took me a while to realise why many there were so "chillin' "....it was a gathering of the Buff Boys!

Seriously though it does make you realise why the older Bulls are so dangerous, whether they are lone bulls or in a group.

I love that photo, it is so detailed but apart from his knarly head, his eye is so soft looking and his hair looks as if it's soft and not coarse. A really interesting photo safariman.

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Re: Cheetah mum and cub Mara North Conservancy June 2012

Post  Safari Maiden on Mon Jul 23, 2012 12:02 pm

Great photos Safariman!

Oooh looks like you have started Buff Boys fan club off again Wink

SM
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