Cheetah mother adopted her sister’s son

High level of sociality and strong maternity instinct altogether allow cheetah females adopt cubs of different ages. Two sisters – Naretoi and Naserian have been raised by their mother Kakenya in the Mara Triangle, but spent significant time in the neighboring Serengeti National Park. In 2017, sisters gave birth in the Mata Triangle: Naretoi in June and Naserian in September. By May 2018, Naretoi lost two out of three cubs. In the end of August 2018, she was spotted in the Northern Tanzania with her only remaining cub male, who was 14 months old at that time. In the beginning of October, we observed Naretoi in the Mara Triangle being alone, in the second trimester of pregnancy. Most likely, she left the cub being pregnant. Naserian left for Serengeti soon after cubs started following her, and appeared in the Mara Triangle in the beginning of June 2018 with the only remaining male cub (8,5 months old), who was very shy like majority of cheetahs who have been raised in Tanzania. After a short visit, Naserian disappeared for several months and in December showed up with two healthy male cubs – her own son and Naretoi’s son! Her cub is still shy and noticeably smaller than Naretoi’s son, who is more confident and occupies the space near his stepmother, demanding her attention. Both males are friendly to each other and might form a coalition after Naserian leaves them. Once she comes into estrus, she will leave the males, avoiding inbreeding. Naserian means “Peaceful and Social” and she fully lives up to her name by taking great care of her sister’s son.