Rosetta Inspires Cubs for Independent Hunting


At the age of one year, cheetah cubs are able to hunt small game on their own, but when hunting adult ungulates they still depend on their mother. If a female leaves a one-year-old cub, he survives by hunting hares or fawns. Small prey is not enough to saturate all family members, and often only the hunter gets all the food. Therefore, after the meal is over, the mother usually makes large kill. Thus, she not only feeds the whole family, but also applies “positive reinforcement” to encourage the independence of her offspring. Cheetah cubs learn about adequate prey species and sizes by watching their mothers hunting and by personal experience. Chasing an adult warthog can lead to injury or even cost the cub life. In such cases, the mother has to protect a cub, distracting warthogs. Recently, Rosetta had to assist her cubs after her daughter had caught a warthog piglet and the pursued switched places with the chaser.