Maasai Mara National Reserve, Kenya. This is one of our all time favorite cheetah mothers, a female that we named Shakira in 2008. At the time we were filming Big Cat Live for the BBC and Shakira had given birth to a litter of six cubs not far from the Governor’s Camp airstrip. We have a stone cottage at Governor’s Camp in the heart of Marsh Pride territory - the pride of lions we have been following since 1977. Cheetahs often struggle to raise their cubs in the area - there are just so many lions and spotted hyenas and the landscape has become increasingly open making it difficult for a mother to remain hidden as she approaches and leaves her den. Shakira had already appeared on Big Cat Week in 2004 with a single large female cub called Duma - the only surviving cub from that litter. Four years later, she was undoubtedly the star of Big Cat Live with her tiny cubs. Here she relaxes for a moment with two of her cubs, always with her eyes wide open on the lookout for danger. She managed to raise three of the six cubs to maturity - three females all of whom became independent.
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