sabi sabi ranger stories

cheetah kill

For most people, one of the highlights in the bush must be to witness a kill.

Finding a cheetah and her cub sleeping on a termite mound on OA Squirrel, we decided to spend some time with her, to see how the course of the day would develop. In the far southeastern corner of the open area, we noticed a herd of Impala making their way onto the area as well as a dazzle of Zebra. For the time being the cheetah is unaware of their presence, as she is on the north facing side of the mound. Awakening, to reposition herself, she notices with her acute eyesight the animals making their way into the open area. Immediately, without hesitation, she makes her way down the mound and begins hunting. She crouches down and ever so stealthily makes her way to another mound, bettering her chance for a kill. Meanwhile, we reposition our Landrover closer to the Impala. Oblivious to what is happening around them, the Impala bolt off in the direction of the Cheetah. From about 30 meters off, she sets off on attack. Reaching a speed that is almost a blur. One of the Impala, startled by the presence of the Cheetah, heads back towards where he came from, a fatal mistake. As the Cheetah closes in, she limits the ram with two options. To hurdle the vehicle or chance it with the tree line south of our vehicle. The latter proving fatal, as she brings him down in front of our vehicle.

Unable to make the initial suffocating bite, the distress call echo's over the area, alerting other potential predators and scavengers. Aware of this she changes her grip and eventually the Impala is dead. Realising she must feed relatively quickly after making a kill, she calls for her cub, mimicking an almost bird like chirp, only to find her cub within meters of her.

Still regaining her breath and not yet feeding from the Impala, we hear the alarm call of Impala & Zebra north of the open area. About 200 meters from the hill, the herds split into two and through the middle runs a lioness. She has heard the distress call and come to investigate. As she approaches the Cheetah and cub on the hill, the Cheetah realises she stands no chance against the Lioness who is a potential danger to her and her cub. The Cheetah bolts off in the opposite direction, leaving the easy pickings to the Lioness, and leaving us, with a sense of just how hard it is out there.


Ranger - Bush Lodge

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