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Cheetah mother captured in a beautiful scene in Kenya, while her five cubs are playing around and
climbing a dead tree next to her.
Today the sky is covered in clouds. The hot air passes through my hair. It looks as if it is to rain any minute. Dramatic cloud formations change hourly. Sometimes lightning in the distance. The atmosphere feels electric.
We stopped the car in the central Mara Plains to take in this tensioned scene of nature. Breathe deeply, smell and let the eyes travel in the distance, just feeling part of nature …
I look through my binoculars scanning the open plain for an interesting sight. Suddenly I get a glimpse of a moving brown bundle a few hundred meters away. I look again, there is young cubs playing at a dead tree. They might be cheetahs but I am not sure.
We approach with carefully. We do not want to disturb or even interfere with their agile play. As closer we get, we realize it is Malaika, that extraordinary cheetah and her offspring. We count her cubs and only get up to five. We search the nearby grass, but nothing. My Massai guide and I agree, something must have happened. She had six cubs when we last saw her a few days ago.
Over radio we make contact with the rangers. They tell us that lions attacked them last night and that one cub is missing since.
One can see that while the young, innocent and energetic bundles are playing, mother Malaika looks focused and sad into the distance. From time to time she gives a despairing outcry for her missing baby. It is touching.
Some time later Malaika walks off. Her cubs follow her instinctively and close by.
A few minutes afterwards, we decide to follow them with discretion. When we catch up with them again, we find Malaika sitting next to her missing cub, which is lying in the grass in front of her. It is dead …
Looking into her face, I am sure that tears running down her black face lines. It is heart moving.
The other cubs are not to be seen. Probably she hid them somewhere along the way.
It is extraordinary for a cheetah to give birth to so many cubs and bringing them all up alone a difficult task. Malaika is trying hard and giving her best as she is strong but we know only two to three cubs will have a chance of making it into adulthood. This is the cause of nature.
We leave her sorrow in peace and while we drive off, I truly hope that the other cubs are safe and I wish that when I return next time I could see most of them as young strong adult cheetahs browsing the Mara plains.