We haven’t posted anything on the female cheetah and her two cubs for awhile, but the good news is that they all appear to be in great health.
They have been in and out of Londolozi, criss-crossing the Sabi Sand Reserve, and, as witnessed in today’s fourth and final instalment (for now) of John Mohaud’s “Superb Run of Sightings”, they have been hunting as successfully as ever.
The three had been found near the Londolozi airstrip in the morning, and had then ventured north past the Londolozi camps, crossing the Sand River towards the grassy crests up beyond the far bank. Resting up during the heat of the day, they eventually started getting going as the sun descended slowly towards the western horizon, when impalas alarming caught their attention, as well as the attention of the rangers that were sitting watching them.
Running right past where the cheetahs were resting, two lions suddenly burst from the thickets; one of the Birmingham males was in pursuit of the young Ottawa male. As they disappeared over the hill, with a couple of Land Rovers following the action.
Crisis for some is opportunity for others, and with the impalas distracted by the lions, the young male cheetah raced in and had grabbed a young ram before the startled antelope even knew what was happening.
Cheetah mothers have often been recorded catching young antelope but not killing them, then calling their cubs, releasing the prey and giving the cubs the chance to take down the fleeing antelope. Given the relative scarcity of these cats on Londolozi it is not something we have witnessed many times ourselves, but the previous female cheetah and her cubs was recorded doing it by then-ranger Chris Goodman. Click here to watch that video.
The young male cheetah in this instance seemed to have a fairly good grip on his impala prey, but had not managed to asphyxiate it properly, and as it made one last desperate attempt to escape, the mother cheetah had to lunge in and finish the job herself, as can be seen in the video below:
Since this sighting the cheetah family have been on the move once more, returning to the slow circle they have been walking between the various sectors of the Sabi Sand reserve. Thankfully it seems our early misgivings about the mother’s ability to hunt with her blind eye were wide of the mark, and even if she has been impaired in her effectiveness, it seems her offspring are starting to take up the mantle more and more.
With the impala lambing season about to commence, the three cheetahs should hopefully not be lacking for feeding opportunities in the next few months.