A DAY IN THE LIFE OF A CHEETA - CAPTURE ONE - CHEETAH – Acinonyx jabatus – Die Jagluiperd

Magriet Meintjes

TOLWE, South Africa

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CHEETAH – Acinonyx jabatus – Die Jagluiperd
Captured The Kruger national park, South Africa
Nikon D50
2013/11/14 14:48:00.4
Lens: VR 80-400mm F/4.5-5.6 D
Focal Length: 370mm
1/500 sec – F/5.6

With my last visit to Kruger during November 2013, I had an extraordinary experience. I stopped at a waterhole roundabout 12h.00hrs. It was midsummer and very hot. I was the only person at the waterhole as most visitors stay at camp due to extreme heat that time of day in the park. I watched water birds and a group of impala under the shade of the trees.
I suddenly noticed movement to my right in the dense bush and as it came out into the clear saw that it indeed was a Cheetah! She slowly moved closer to the waterhole and moved into a patch of long grass where she went in hiding. As time passed the impala moved closer to the water, unaware of her presence.
As time passed more cars pulled up and asked me what I was watching, I pointed out that there is a cheetah hiding in the patch of grass where the impala are.
After almost two hours she planned her attack. I knew it was a long distance and that I would be very lucky if I managed to get in a good shot at that distance but did not put my camera down for a second, just kept watching her through my lens. Once se came clear there was now time for focus I just kept my finger on the shutter and tried to stay on her all the way! I know this is not quality work but would love to just share a great privilege and one in a lifetime experience!
Amazing how she selected one Impala out of the herd and just went full speed for that one. The chase was amazing, but unfortunately she missed and for the impala, another day of survival in the wild!

CHEETAH – Acinonyx jabatus – Die Jagluiperd

The streamlined and elegant cheetah, although purported to attain speeds of over 100 km per hour, can probably not exceed the speed of 75 km per hour for short stretches, but is, nevertheless the fleetest animal on earth.
Their claws, unlike other cats of the region, are not able to be retracted. They are terrestrial animals, utilising stout sloping tree trunks to rest on and use as observation posts. Predominantly diurnal they are most active in early morning and late afternoon. In hot weather they rest in the heat of the day, preferring and elevated position from where they can keep an eye out for danger. They are more solitary than social animals. Males form strongly cohesive bachelor groups. The females are not joined by the males except during oestrus.
Vocalisation is a curious chirruping, rather like a birdcall. This may be accompanied by a ‘chirr’ sound. When content they purr loudly and growls, cough, hiss or snarl. They raise the hair on their back when they threaten.
Cheetahs are not aggressive towards each other except where males battle over female in oestrus. These can be serious skirmishes which may leave one of the contestants dead. Their habitat preferences are open plains, savannah woodland and semi-desert
Their bad record of difficult breeding has been ascribed variously to an inbred genetic difficulty and, by some zoologists, to the possible occurrence of a serious plague in times past which wiped out most of the cheetah leaving very few survivors and insufficient unrelated individuals to perpetuate a very viable gene pool. This would have inhibited successful ongoing breeding. They also have a complicated courtship process, which further increases the breeding problem.
The beautiful king cheetah is a genetically aberrant animal which occasionally manifests in populations of cheetah in central and southern Zimbabwe, Eastern Botswana, North Eastern, Northern and Western Transvaal.
Gestation period: +/- 93 days
Young: one – six, usually two to four
Mass: male 50kg, female 40kg
Length: male 200cm female 190cm
Life expectancy: 16 years

Artwork Comments

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