Looking back - Predator #1
Classification: Natural Location: Namibia
This seems to be a lot of people's favourite images I've taken. A Cheetah just on the move with energy and power. The lovely thing with this image is that it captures and stops the motion. I've seen a lot of images w here the Cheetah is blurred to give a greater sense of motion. For me, I like stopping the motion so you can enjoy the animal. If you look into the image you will also see the Little Rock's and dust particles being kicked up!
This is a wild Cheetah that was released by AfriCat into their large reserve in Namibia. At the time I took this picture I was lying down about ten feet away from the animal. Thankfully I had one of Okonjima's guides with me. Rohan Van Wyck, along with the other guides there are more than accomplished in their tracking skills, and are amazing photographers as well.
Cheetahs are an amazing predator. We all know they are the fastest predator around, and we get to see them on BBC natural history programs, but they also have an interesting history. They've survived two genetic bottle necks in their history. With the last one over ten thousand years ago. The ancestry can be traced back to a handful of Cheetahs. Literally. Technically they do suffer from inbreeding issues, however they have continued to survive, even with the pressures of man.
sadly though, things aren't looking so great. As with many of the predators out there, the total population numbers are declining through habitat loss, along with the fact that in some countries they are seen as domestic pets and prized highly. Yes you heard me right, they are seen as petS because they can be domesticated better than any other predator.
There are less than 6700 Cheetahs left in the wild. I've said it before and I will say it again. This is a man made mess, and we can all help to reduce the pressures on these animals. It isn't important where you live, as you can still support the charities that make a difference. AfriCat, Cheetah Conservation Foundation, and the Ruaha projects all work towards either reducing Human Wildlife Conflict or creating important research to help in saving these animals.