Cheetahs in the Northern Tuli Game Reserve are gaining an impressive reputation as ‘super moms’ after several generations have successfully raised large litters to adulthood.
Whilst it is common for cheetahs to have litters of three to five cubs, the youngsters are very vulnerable and there is usually a high mortality rate – up to 90% – within the first few months.
So having had several cheetah mothers in the reserve raise three or more cubs to adulthood is fantastic news. One female, called Mapula, managed to raise her very first litter of five cubs to adulthood in 2011, and this breeding success seems to run in the family as one of the female offspring from that litter went on to raise three cubs herself in her first litter last year.
Guides in the reserve keep track of cheetahs with an ID kit initially assembled by researchers based in the area a few years ago. With this tracking, guests at Tuli Safari Lodge have recently been enjoying the antics of four sub-adults who will soon be ready to set off on their own.
But there’s also new blood gracing the reserve. These lovely bundles of fluff are new cheetah cubs that we’ve been seeing more and more of recently. The mom and youngsters seem very relaxed with game viewers so the next generation of chilled Tuli cheetahs seems to have arrived!