Carried to safety.

Posted by Marc on Thu Sep 05, 2019 11:08 am

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Just back from another amazing Serengeti experience, with one highlight being this special image.

Early morning, 6.55am and the sun yet to poke it's head up, mum carries her remaining cub, (1 of 2 left) after Hyena sadly killed 4 of her then 6 the previous night. :(

Here in the Serengeti, cheetah cub survival rate is just 1 in 20 and sadly this horrendous statistic proved accurate as this mother also went on to lose her remaining two cubs in another 2 days time.

Why is it that some mothers have more luck in raising 1, 2 or more cubs out of the 6/8 that she delivers? Is it luck and good timing, possibly, but one has to consider that some mothers, regardless of how many litters they deliver, are simply not good mothers.

With just *6500 cheetah left in the world, and with such a narrow gene pool, will this be the first of Africa's big cats to vanish from the wild?

*These are statistics from the current Serengeti Cheetah Research.

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by david fletcher on Thu Sep 05, 2019 12:50 pm
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wonderful image Marc. Powerful, when placed in context with those statistics.
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by Ron Day on Thu Sep 05, 2019 2:05 pm
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david fletcher wrote:
wonderful image Marc.  Powerful, when placed in context with those statistics.

+1. Beautiful work – love the youngster in tow.

Last edited by Ron Day on Thu Sep 05, 2019 7:38 pm, edited 1 time in total.

by Carol Clarke on Thu Sep 05, 2019 2:54 pm
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A very poignant image, Marc.  When you think about her carrying those six cubs for three months and then giving birth, only to lose them all in such a sad way.  No doubt she will be in estrus again soon and start all over again.  Nature in the raw.  Everything has to eat something else, and so on up the food chain.

Your image is superb.  Her eyes say it all.

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by owlseye on Thu Sep 05, 2019 8:35 pm
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Beautiful photograph Marc, and as others have stated... a poignant story to support the image. The struggle for existence is what made the cheetah fast, and only the most fit mothers will produce fit offspring. Sadly, human encroachment and development may be the one unavoidable threat that tips the balance against the fragile stability crafted by the evolutionary process.

by Paul Fusco on Fri Sep 06, 2019 11:17 am
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Great behavioral image, Marc!
It's nice that you got a good frontal angle.
Cheetahs, like most of the large cats, are facing a tough future ahead of them.
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by bobmcrae on Fri Sep 06, 2019 11:35 am
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Wonderful photograph. The dof is spot on, the composition is great and the subject is out of this world. Fantastic!

I'm certainly no expert on Cheetahs, but I think they just don't have the ability to defend against Lions or packs of Hyenas. In areas where there is a high concentration of other predators, they probably don't have much of a chance raising their young. Maybe that's why they have so many cubs?

by Axel Hildebrandt on Sat Sep 07, 2019 3:17 pm
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Great image and thanks for sharing the story, makes you wonder if it is simply bad luck or something else going on.
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by Marc on Sun Sep 08, 2019 6:15 am
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Axel Hildebrandt wrote:
Great image and thanks for sharing the story, makes you wonder if it is simply bad luck or something else going on.

Many thanks everyone for the positive comments.


Having chosen a site to den her cubs where Hyena were prevalent was likely the deciding factor in the cubs demise.
The morning she had lost her 4 there were Hyena tracks all over the area, and once we found the bloody ground where she was frantically sniffing this pretty much confirmed our theory.

by Cynthia Crawford on Tue Sep 10, 2019 5:41 am
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Such a poignant image -just lovely. Your story of the reality of the life and death of these cubs makes the photo all the more touching.
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by Paul Rossi on Fri Sep 13, 2019 9:54 pm
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I took a glance at this before with no time to comment. Got time now. Great image and story told by the image and you.
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