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Cheetahs Attack their Own

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Uploaded on Jul 4, 2010

Cheetahs... the world's fastest land mammals unfortunately have one of the highest infant mortality rates. Mothers are single parents, and as a result only 1 out of 20 cheetah cubs make it to adulthood. So it was very special in Feb 2008 when, we encountered a mother teaching her 4 adult sized male cubs to hunt. It takes a very special mom to be such an efficient hunter to support and protect 4 cubs to adulthood. For 3 days we watched them learn and play together.

A year later we found 3 of the 4 brothers still hunting together (our guides had been there enough to identify them as 3 of the same brothers). It really was a thrill watching them hunt and run through a marsh and climb trees. Climb trees? Aw come on... Cheetahs can not climb trees because they have dog like paws. But here one of them was in a tree (obviously jumped up and as you can see... jumped back down) And the next day 2 of them were in this tree getting a better view of potential prey across the plain.

I can not express the shock I felt when 4 months later we experienced one of the brothers being attacked by the other 2. We could not fathom why 2 of the brothers seemed intent on killing the other. As it turns out, we were privileged to witness a rare natural occurrence that naturalists call the 'Separation Process". It is not uncommon for cheetah brothers to hang out together for a few years after they are on their own, but eventually they all become loners. The process of the family splitting as the brothers got too big for a single territory is what we were witnessing. It can be violent as you can see, and sometimes it can even result in death.

After reviewing the video of the 2nd & 3rd attacks that we witnessed, it is apparent that a couple times the attackers had the victim by the throat and could have killed him if that was the intent.

In the end the attackers walked off leaving their brother with what appeared to be superficial wounds. He later walked to shade with hardly a limp. It was just a few minutes later that we saw a mother cheetah with 3 little fuzz ball cubs. Once again we were reminded how privileged we were to experience the circle of life in the Serengeti ecosystem.

All of this took place in the Ngorongoro Conservation Area (NCA) in the Serengeti ecosystem in Tanzania.

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