With cheetahs being rather rare animals to see here at Londolozi you can’t help but get excited when you hear over the radio that one has been found in the south-western parts of the reserve. An even greater feeling is when you get the update from another ranger that there is not just one but two that have been seen!
This happened only recently, and while racing to try get to the sighting I couldn’t help but wonder what the possible dynamics of these two cheetahs could be. My mind immediately jumped to the thought of it being two males that have formed a coalition – which is fairly common between brothers – however I was pleasantly surprised to see that it was in fact a male and female.
Upon arrival we were guided to where the female was lying down, while one of the other rangers stuck with the male who was now approaching our position. We soon realised that the female had not yet noticed that she was being stalked. She got up and walked for about 150 metres with the male following and getting closer and closer; next thing we had two cheetahs running, one after the other at full speed, ending with the male catching the female which was followed by a short fight:
We sat with the pair for the next hour-and-a-half witnessing this very hostile interaction between the two cats. Every time the female looked as if she was going to make a break for it the male would enforce his dominance over her and it would end in a fight. He would then walk around making a noise I can’t recall ever hearing a cheetah make; it was more of a lower call that I could only think sounded more like a soft hyena contact call.
Could this have been a courtship ritual that so few people ever get to witness? If so it is likely that they would have stayed together for two to three days after this sighting, mating up to five times a day.
Unfortunately they were not seen later that afternoon nor the next day, but we are still hoping beyond hope that we could potentially have cheetah cubs on the reserve in the near future.
Filed under Wildlife
That could have been the precussor to courtship, it usually starts off as being quite aggressive. Luckily that fight didn’t go too far, male cheetahs have been known to occassionally kill and even cannabilise their opponents.
Keep our finger cross, to have more Cheetahs in 2020
Wow , how lucky were you to see those two magnificent animals. We’ve just returned from four days at Londoz and didn’t get a sighting of the cheetah BUT saw everything else including my highlight to spot a chameleon ay night courtesy of tracker Gerry!!
Fantastic sighting–amazing sounds!
Welcome to the Londolozi “family.”
Tayla, Great video
How incredible for you all to witness this display of behavior, be it courtship or aggression. Cheetahs are so rare to see in SabiSand that it’s a prize when they are spotted. Hopefully this could be the beginning of a courtship leading to a new litter in the reserve.
That was exciting! Sure seemed like a mating ritual but was fun to watch! Glad someone got the video!
Very exciting situation. Hoping little cubs will be on the reserve in the near future.
I agree, what an unusual sound from her. Initially I felt she sounded distressful, but then it may have been part of a courtship ritual. In the end I’m just glad he didn’t kill her because he certainly was powerful and in control! Exceptional video!!