The Mara-Serengeti ecosystem stretches over 40,000 sq. km, and since the animals move freely through it, every 3-4 months new cheetahs appear in the Mara. Most often these are young males wandering in search of suitable territories. If the area is controlled by a coalition, the loner has to move away for a while to avoid clashes. At the beginning of July 2020, a young male, named Oloti (Young Boy in Maa), appeared in the Mara Triangle. In early September, he crossed the Mara River and started exploring the Maasai Mara National Reserve, but after 2 months he returned to the Triangle. His appearance in Mara coincided with the emergence of a new coalition – Rosetta’s two sons – Ruka and Rafiki, who gained independence in March 2020 and began to travel around the Mara, reaching the Triangle in May 2020. From then until now, Oloti’s movements from the Triangle to the Reserve and back are partly dictated by movements of this coalition. In February 2023, Oloti appeared in the Reserve thin and limping on his right hind leg and with several wounds on his body, apparently from a collision with a predator. Since the male could not take care of himself, he was assisted by the rangers of the Reserve and the KWS Mobile Vet Unit. Since the male was extremely shy (and still is) and preferred to spend much of his time in thick bushes and forests, he was difficult to monitor. In the first ten days of March, Oloti crossed the river and settled in Triangle, where he was assisted and constantly monitored by the Rangers of the Mara Conservancy. The male gradually recovered, independently hunted a variety of game (hares, young and adult gazelles) and gradually got used to the presence of tourist cars. When Ruka and Rafiki returned to the Triangle from the Serengeti, Oloti again moved to the Reserve. Since he still limps, albeit barely noticeable, he has adapted to hunt in dense bush at any time of the day when the opportunity arises. Yesterday he successfully brought down an adult impala after 18:00 in the thick bushes along Talek river. The process of recovery in the wild, where cheetahs have to move intensively, is long. For example, Milele (brother of Mbili), who started limping in December 2022, fully recovered only in 5 months. Mbili was hunting and sharing meals with his brother, which facilitated the process of recovery. For Oloti if would have been hard to survive, but the well-coordinated and efficient work of the rangers of the Reserve, Mara Triangle and the KWS Mara Vet Unit team made it possible to provide urgent timely assistance to the cheetah, which contributed to his recovery. We are very grateful to the guides of the Mara Intrepids and Asilia, and all the guides for their help in locating Oloti, which allowed the doctors and rangers to carry out all necessary activities. Only together we can save these magnificent animals!



One of the criteria for the success of male cheetahs is the ability to establish and maintain territory. If there are coalitions in the area, it is more difficult for a loner to hold the territory, and he becomes a floater. The key to the success of a singleton is the strength and ability to protect his territory from other loners, driving them away. Males deal with competitors very aggressively – they attack, and if the intruder did not run away, he could get seriously injured in a fight. This partly explains the short life expectancy of young males – about 3 years. Jaziri, a male born and brought up by Amani in the northern part of the Mara, firmly settled in Sopa a year ago, and within a year drove out Olanyuani, a male who had lost his coalition-mate in July 2021. The territories of the females overlap with those of the males, and some individuals get to know each other well. Recently in Sopa we observed two females and a male within 1,5 km: Siligi, which spends most of her time in the Serengeti, Nashipai and Jaziri. It is interesting that on the same day, but at a distance from each other, Siligi and Jaziri actively marked objects and often climbed termite mounds, examining the area, and Jaziri also called loudly. The next day, we found Jaziri with Nashipai, and he delicately and uncertainly followed her, and the female made no attempt to leave the male. On this day, Siligi watched the couple from afar. She is well acquainted with Jaziri, as they have met before. On the third day, the situation changed: Jaziri lost interest in Nashipai, but did not let her leave. When she managed to move away at 100m and lie down on a mound, the male approached her with very specific intentions – now she was not a mating partner, but a territorial competitor. Jaziri attacked Nashipai in the same manner as the males: he walked around with a howl and periodically pounced. The female fought back and assumed a pose of submission, and after a series of attacks, the male left her alone and mover away. Since Jaziri sniffed her resting-places without flehmen response (an olfactory mechanism for identifying the reproductive state of females based on pheromones in the female’s urine or genitals), Nashipai was not in estrus, but the males are not always ready to give up, and keep the female hostage for at least a full day. The receptivity I cheetahs lasts for 3 days, and Jaziri may have missed his chance to mate with Siligi that time, while following Nashipai. However, the female will come in estrus within a month and will actively advertise her state of readiness for breeding, leaving messages for the male by scent marking. And then very likely they will succeed.



The cheetah population in the Maasai Mara Ecosystem is not stable and fluctuates over the years and throughout each year. In some years, recruitment exceeds the death rate, or vice versa. Once every few months, we observe new individuals that come from the unprotected areas around the Mara or from Tanzania. Since October 2022, 13 new cheetahs have appeared in the Mara: 12 males and one female. At the Sand River area of the reserve, we observed a coalition of two young males, a coalition of 3 – in Ripoi conservancy, and 4 different single extremely shy males appeared in the following conservancies: Olarro, Olderkesi, Naboisho and Enonkishu. In the Mara Triangle, from July 2022 to March 2023, 4 new cheetahs were observed – 3 males and one female. In October 2022, a coalition of 2 very shy males briefly appeared on the Siria escarpment. In July 2022, a young male was first sighted on the Serengeti border and later named Mpaka (“Border”). In addition to them, from October 2022 to date, 4 adult cheetahs have been seen: Risasi with cubs, her brothers Ruka and Rafiki (who spend a lot of time in the Serengeti), as well as the male Oloti. Moreover, in March, a new female, named by the Triangle rangers Naado, settled in the Mara Triangle. Naado is the daughter of Siligi and is the only one out of 7 cubs, who survived to independence from that litter born in October 2019. She is currently in the last trimester of pregnancy. The various conservation activities that the rangers are constantly performing in the Mara Triangle, including successful cheetah monitoring program, allow the cheetahs to feel more comfortable, and their movements are influenced not by anthropogenic, but by natural factors – such as the distribution and composition of other predators and prey, as well as weather conditions. The fact that a pregnant female has been in Conservancy for a long time is very inspiring.



The absence of fences allows animals to move freely through the Mara Serengeti ecosystem. Therefore, every few months we observe new cheetahs in the Mara: sometimes adults, but more often adolescents, who have reached the age of independence and have begun to explore new areas. Cheetahs, born and raised outside of the Mara, are extremely shy and vigilant. That’s what young littermates Olpadan and Siligi were when we first met them at the border with the Serengeti in the mid-2016. Both subsequently became famous: Olpadan as a leader of the largest known male collation, and Siligi as the mother of the litter of 7 cubs. Our long-term observations have shown that in order to be successful in the Mara, cheetahs must become tolerant of the presence of vehicles. Skittish cheetahs are less likely to relax, successfully hunt, breed and raise offspring than cheetahs accustomed to the presence of cars. Certainly, subject to the recommended distance and silence by tourists. Conservancies play a vital role in maintaining the natural balance and biodiversity in the Mara ecosystem. In addition, they provide cheetahs with the opportunity to adapt to tourism. An extremely important event for the Mara was the appearance in March 2023 of a coalition of 3 young males in the newly formed Mara Ripoi conservancy. Males are still rather shy, but eventually relax in the presence of a car, demonstrating playful behavior or completely relaxing. There are reasons to believe that this new group, in addition to being a wonderful sight for the guests, will become a valuable addition to the gene pool of the Mara cheetah population.



Heavy rains have flooded some areas of the Mara, making it difficult for the cheetahs to find suitable places to rest and hunt. Walking 5-6 kilometers in search of prey, Tano Bora males encounter various predators, most often hyenas, at any time of the day. Recently, attempts by old males to catch antelopes have failed for a number of reasons, including uncoordinated hunting for two different targets while losing visual contact with each other, long distance to ungulates, or early start of the chase. But even when the males manage to catch the prey, it is often discovered sooner or later by stronger predators, such as hyenas. One of the adaptations of hyenas is to follow cheetahs in anticipation of a hunt in order to take away the prey, therefore cheetahs do not hunt when they spot a hyena and try to get out of its sight. Yesterday, during heavy rain, the Tano Bora males successfully hunted an adult Thomson’s gazelle, but did not notice the hyena because of the mist. Hyena seized the prey and immediately began to eat it, and cheetahs sat a few meters away watching hyena feasting. They were making attempts to approach the food one at a time, inevitably provoking hyena attacks. When hyena carried a half-eaten carcass aside, the cheetahs hurried to the spot where only the intestines and a few pieces of meat remained. Later that day, 4 hyenas relentlessly followed the cheetah males, systematically approaching and checking for food, and in the evening settled down to sleep in the grass 30 meters from the tired cheetahs. Under cloud of night, the Tano Bora males covered more than 10 kilometers and tried to hunt again today, making the last attempt to catch a Topi at 17:35.