Africa, Kenya

Malaika Camp – Part III

As you readers know, we had already seen everything on the wish list (plus the bonus male leopard), so everything from here on out was an extra blessing. We had told Tony that we’d like to see a cheetah run. I wanted to see how fast they really were. Someone called in to Tony that there was a cheetah named Imani and she looked like she was going to hunt. We went to join the other observers.

Imani means faith.

She was a beauty and she was pregnant. She would walk from hill to hill, surveying the land. The conservation status for cheetahs is ‘vulnerable’. Between their loss of habitat, hunters, etc., they are in danger of extinction. I didn’t exactly want to see a kill, but I wanted to see a cheetah run, and I wanted Imani to get some food for herself and the baby. First she started trotting quickly.

Then she started running. Or at least we thought she was running. Turns out we were very wrong. All of the sudden she went from first gear to fourth; it was so fast we couldn’t record it! All we could do was watch from a distance and say, “holy crap!”. It was exhilarating! And she actually caught the gazelle. Nice hunting, girl.

Yes, we had seen our first kill from the beginning.

By the time we got there, the gazelle was already dead, thank goodness. She ate in the tall grass. We weren’t close enough to see any eating gore, which was definitely fine by me.

And then she acted like our cat does when she’s in a spicy mood and writhed around on the ground, exposing her belly. I didn’t know if she was marking her kill, marking her territory, or just had an itch. Maybe that was her version of a happy dance.

If we were going to have to see a kill, this was one I could handle. Imani was the highlight of the day, and we could mark another thing off the extra extra wish list. Tony was doing a great job!

Thanks for reading and see you all next week.

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