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Blue eyes | by frederic.salein
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Blue eyes

This is our first safari in the Masai Mara reserve. We arrived in Nairobi in the morning by plane. The camp where we stay is located two kilometers from the airport to Olkiombo near the Talek river.


We start in the afternoon with Michael, our guide / driver, 20 years of experience. Barely out of the vicinity of the camp, Michael stops his 4x4 along the runway. A small operation and we leave the runway. A few meters from it, hidden in the shade of a bush, we discover a mother cheetah and its cub.


The cheetah is the only truly daytime feline in the African savannah. Generally, it hunts alone. It is a space eater and the plains of Masai Mara is an ideal area for its legendary speed. its non-retracted claws and flexibility of his spine made him a formidable fighter especially for its favorite prey such as Thompson gazelles . But the effort of hunting has its counterparts: the chettah is generally exhausted by its run. If it is successful, it must immediately hide its prey or hurry to eat before other, more powerful (such as hyenas and lions) do steal him . The cheetah is an animal quite vulnerable. It is even more for cubs.

Here appears the small blind cub. His blue eyes and his behavior seemed to confirm its blindness. We wonder what the life expectancy of this little cat who may not hunt or defend themselves.


We meet them three times around the camp. The last time give rise to an event that we are not nearly forgotten. The female appears ready to go hunting. But as Michael said this is not a potential prey it has identified, but the greatest of dangers. A few hundred meters away, a lioness down the slope and heads irredeemably to the two cheetahs. The female cheetah began racing toward the enemy who at first turned and seemed flee. After a few moments, the lioness turns back and looks like running away from the two spotted cats. The female cheetah finally chooses avoidance. The danger is avoided and the lioness continues its way.


The full story and pictures:

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Taken on August 22, 2007