Perspectives

The Cheetah Children on NATURE, Wednesday, January 29 at 8 pm


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Nature – The Cheetah Children

Wednesday, January 29 at 8 p.m. on WOUB

 

mother cheetah on termite mound with three cubs nearby
Picture shows: The mother cheetah sits on a termite mound surrounded by four of her cubs, Malilangwe Wildlife Reserve, Zimbabwe.

Life on the African plains is a constant struggle, and for a single mother rearing her offspring, the odds seem to be stacked against them. This is an inspiring tale about motherhood and family, as we follow a cheetah family on the grasslands through the eyes of conservationist and cameraman Kim Wolhuter. The mother is completely on her own, protecting her five newborn cubs and teaching them how to hunt some of the continent’s fastest game. Watch as the inquisitive cubs explore the world around them and discover their place in the forests of Zimbabwe. Over time, two sister cubs survive and develop into brave and successful predators ensuring their species will give birth to another generation.

cheetah on log ready to pounce
Picture shows: The mother cheetah on a fallen tree trunk, Malilangwe Wildlife Reserve, Zimbabwe.

Noteworthy Facts:

  • The Malilangwe Game Reserve in Zimbabwe, where the film takes place, is a dangerous place for cheetah cubs, as the 200-square-mile area is filled with other predators.
  • Cheetah mothers do not have partners or sisters to assist in feeding and protecting their cubs. They have just over a year to teach their young to survive in the wilderness without them.
  • Wolhuter aids an injured animal he is observing if the injury is manmade and/or if the animal is an endangered species. (Wolhuter aids one of the cheetah cubs after it suffers a baboon bite across the shoulder in the film.)
  • Many cheetah cubs do not make it to adulthood, a statistic that presents a daunting challenge for Africa’s cheetah population.
  • A mother cheetah leaving her scent where it will lure male cheetahs is a sign she is ready for another cycle of motherhood and it’s the end of her cubs’ childhoods, as the cubs no longer follow her after she leaves her mark.