HELPING OLOTI

06/30/2023

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!