Atop the Kopje
Engineered for speed with their aerodynamic body frame and lightweight skeleton, the cheetah is much slighter than Africa’s other big cats. As a result, they will do anything possible to avoid coming into contact with lions and leopards.
A strategy that male cheetahs have adopted to offer an elevated form of safety, is the formation of a coalition. This pact occurs when several males (who may or may not be related) band together so that they can hold a ‘better’ territory, take down larger prey items and share responsibilities like vigilant behaviour and territorial patrols.
This male cheetah is one of three in a coalition in the eastern Serengeti. One evening, we had left them sleeping by a riverbed with the hopes of catching them in the morning, but they’d disappeared! After searching for an hour, we came across this male by himself. He was quite distressed, was constantly calling to try and locate his brothers and had climbed a kopje to search for them.
In the same area, there were also three huge male lions and we think that at some point in the night, the lions may have tried to attack the cheetahs, causing them to split up and run.
Luckily the next day, we found all three cheetah boys reunited and unharmed, and with one thing on their mind.... a lady.
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