by Richard Coke
I just got back from northern Tanzania. The beautiful open grasslands were really lush after the short rains.
It's a great time to see predators. The impala are willing to take risks to feed on the fresh grass in the less protected open areas. And the predators can stalk through the longer grass with less chance of being spotted.
Within twenty minutes of leaving camp, we found a female cheetah with her two sub-adult offspring.
The three of them had picked up three male impala. I wasn't sure they'd go for it: the impala were mature, with big horns. But the female cheetah seemed more confident because she had her children with her.
They had a strategy, and worked together patiently stalking the impala.
The big surprise was that while the mother attacked the impala, the young male arrived and headed for us as we slowly approached to get a better view!
He came within two or three meters of our vehicle, his fur bristling, and pounding the earth with his paws.
It was an astonishing sight. After a few moments, he turned away and went to help his mother.
It may be one of the last times they hunt together.
The young were about 18 months old. By the time they're about two, their mother will leave them and return to life as a solitary hunter.