St Francis Bay photographer Clive Wright captured this photograph whilst on safari in Botswana.
The cheetah is one of Botswana’s conserved mammals. Despite protection, numbers are on the decline as they lose their range to man. Infrequently seen in former strongholds such as Nxai Pan and Makgadikgadi due to cattle encroachment, as well as the reduction in prey species following the droughts of the eighties.
Easily tamed, and capable of running 96 to 120 km/h, cheetahs are the world’s fastest land animal.
Once plentiful across most of Africa, Asia Minor, and India, the cheetah has been hunted to extinction in India, and the only significant populations left are in the game reserves of eastern and southwestern Africa.
In the wild, their most important prey are medium-sized hoofed animals such as gazelles, impala, and waterbuck. Having eaten their fill, cheetahs rarely return to the kill and will eat carrion only under dire circumstances.