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 foster 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. Over time, the cheetah 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. One early morning, we found them feasting on a recent kill of a springbok. The close proximity gave us an opportunity to observe their relationship. Between bites, the brothers would embrace each other and lick the blood off each other’s faces. It was grounding to observe this interplay of hunger, survival, affection and family bonds in this harsh environment. Technical Specs: Canon EOS 7D Mark II, 16-35mm F4L lens, 1/125 sec at F11, ISO 100, remotely triggered. Post Processing: Covert to Black & White, Cropping, Minor Level adjustment, Minor Sharpening.

There are no comments