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Namiri Plains (meaning plains of “big cats” in Swahili) in eastern Serengeti had been closed to public for over 20 years. The main goal was for cats like lions, cheetah and leopards to replenish in an undisturbed environment. Today these expansive plains with outcrops of multiple kopjes (small hills) are sprawling with apex predators. This region of eastern Serengeti has the highest density of cheetahs in all of Africa. We followed a family of three young cheetahs along with their mother for multiple days. It was quite unusual to see fully grown cheetahs still live and hunt with their mother. The survival rate of young cheetah cubs in this region is quite low as it’s full of other big cats and hyenas. The mother was clearly a very experienced hunter which was evident from the fact that she brought up three cubs in an extremely hostile environment. The entire family got very comfortable with our presence and the mother would frequently use our car as a vantage point to scan for other predators and prey. We found them early one morning feasting on a recently hunted springbok. It was an intense sight to watch them feed but the close proximity gave us an inner glance into their relationship with each other. It was quite beautiful to see the brothers intermittently embrace each other and lick the blood off each other’s faces while the mother kept guard from other predators like lions, leopards and hyena. I was able to capture a rare glimpse of their survival instincts combined with a sense of strong family bonds where they all took care of each other in an extremely unforgiving and dangerous surrounding. Technical Specs: Canon EOS 7D Mark II, 16-35mm F4L lens, 1/125 sec at F11, ISO 100, remotely triggered. Post Processing: Cropping, Minor Level and saturation adjustment, Minor Sharpening.

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