Today is Mother’s Day and we decided to share our memories of one of the most famous Cheetah mothers in the Mara – Malaika. She raised to independence five cubs in three litters: in 2013 – a male Bawa, in 2016 – a male Malik and a female Malkia, and in 2018 – two males Dogo and Kigumba, which made her also one the most successful mothers in the Maasai Mara.

Animals on the road

While some cheetahs are shy and avoid cars, others remain on the edge of the road, exposing themselves to danger. Recently we found Nora resting at the roadside, where she spent a few hours. She did not pay attention to passing and stopping tourist cars, and only a large truck forced her to leave the spot. Rains bring the problem of spotting an animal at a short distance while driving. The young Thomson’s gazelle was left alone when the mother moved to the other side of the road, frightened by cars passing by. Fortunately, the mother came for it’s fawn. We all have to be very attentive while driving in the Mara, especially on the slippery roads and in the rain.

Imani’s feeding behavior

Some cheetahs are shyer than the others are, and they all differ in their tolerance to vehicles. Having cubs, females become more timid and avoid people, hiding in tall grass or under bushes, where they are difficult to detect. Imani has already lost three cubs, and takes care of the remaining cub with extra caution. Being a successful hunter, Imani also applies a special feeding strategy. To keep the carcass available to the young and at the same time not to attract the attention of predators as long as possible, Imani often only eats muscle meat and does not open the peritoneum, so that the liver and heart remain untouched. After eating, she hides the carcass by digging the grass over it with paws and rests nearby keeping an eye on the spot. Sun-drying preserves the meat, and the family returns to it several times after hunting. Two days ago, in search for food and peace, Imani covered over 8 km within 7 hours with short breaks. Next morning, she had made a kill and spent entire day near it undisturbed, feeding with a cub several times.
With the heavy rains in the Mara, not only following cheetahs in the field, but even reaching home becomes challenging due to the floods. We are grateful to Matira Safaris and Bush Camp for their continuous support by helping us finding cheetahs and for accommodating us during heavy rains. Thank you Antony Tira and Monika Braun for your help!

Nora and Fast Five

After successful mating with one of the males of the “Fast Five” coalition in December 2017, Nora unfortunately lost her cubs. She is 6-year old now, and to date raised only one male cub to independence. After the loss of their offspring, females come into heat within a month and ready to mate again. Last week, Nora met Fast Five, who were following her intensively. It is difficult to say whether the mating occurred because the female was protective and did not let males approaching too close. Yesterday afternoon, three males out of four gave up and went hunting, while two most insistent males kept following a female. Presence of the female has provoked conflicts between the group members, who were accompanied any movement of Nora with a loud growl. During the daytime, Nora tried seeking protection from the males in researchers, and managed to escape from followers yesterday night. Cheetahs are induced ovulators, and require various stimuli to induce estrus. If Nora was not ready to mate this time, a company of 5 active males could play a role of a booster of an estrus, and within a week, the female will become more friendly towards these or other males.

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