Here’s a question for you? Do you remember when you were a baby? Some will say yes, and others will say no….but we all have some remembrances and recollections of our childhood. Babies in the wild are no different! They have happy childhoods and some have sad childhoods. I tend to focus on the happy childhoods and when you’re sitting in front of them watching these little babies play, you can’t help but to think about how, as a child you did much the same thing.
First you played with mommy, for it was mommy who took care of you. She bathed you, and made sure you were fed to keep you healthy. Mama animals also do the same thing. They hunt to bring you food, they lead you to water for you to drink, and they groom you until you are clean. And when mama isn’t so tired, they play with you until they’re just so tired! They too, have to rest. They need their strength – for you!
Do you remember any times when you got stuck somewhere and couldn’t find your way clear? I do. I remember swinging in a swing and my clothing got stuck to the screws underneath the seat. I thought my mom would never see me, as I was dragged by the swing still swinging in the breeze over my sandbox. But, it was mama to the rescue and I was free.
This little cheetah easily climbed up a tree but found it not so easy to come down. How could that happen she asks herself? I climbed up here so easily and quickly. How do I get down without getting hurt? It’s so far away! She is perched between a small protruding trunk and the main trunk. There are no steps to climb down. What must she do?
Mama and her siblings are under the tree looking up at her, as if to say, you got up there, now you have to figure out how to come down. The baby looks stressed in that tree. She wants to be back with her siblings and her mama. Maybe this wasn’t such a good idea after all!
We watch her as she goes from side to side, afraid to jump, and unable to navigate going down, does she go backwards or does she go forward? Even she is unsure. Those of us watching her, are afraid, she will fall and break her leg or even worse. She’s just beginning her life, and the life of a baby cheetah is always at risk of the larger predators, especially, if injured. Even mom can’t help her out of this one. She has to learn for herself.
It takes about fifteen minutes before she just decides she has to take a chance, so she maneuvers back and forth until she’s in a position to jump. We hold our breath, did she make it? Yes, she did, and now she’s safely at her mothers side, as if to say, see, mommy, I made it by myself and mom licks her as if to acknowledge her bravery.
Sharing moments like this on safari will bring you closer to nature and closer to thoughts of how survival of the fittest fits into life on the plains of Africa.
Babies are vulnerable to all big prey. Sometimes the mammas have to hide the babies and disguise their scent to keep them safe. If baby cheetahs live past six months, they often have a better chance of survival, but that isn’t always easy!
Watch a couple of the videos here as the baby tried to get down:
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