‘Cheetah — The Price of Speed’ follows a young family of cheetahs on the harsh exposed plains of the southern Serengeti and examines the everyday battle for survival as a single mother attempts to keep her demanding cubs safe while also ensuring they have enough to eat.
The annual migration of the wildebeest is the backdrop to the ﬁlm, providing a rich bounty of potential prey for the cheetah mother. Her favourite targets are the newly born wildebeest calves which often get separated from their mothers in the chaos of this predator-rich environment.Although fast, the cheetah cannot run at full speed for long distances (100 metres is about the limit) because it may overheat. This lack of stamina results in many failed attempts to capture prey and often leaves the cheetah cubs up to one kilometre away from their mother and highly vulnerable to opportunistic predators such as the hyena. It is no surprise that the infant mortality rate among cheetahs is a staggering 70%.
Alongside the cheetah, we see other plains animals, how they operate, and how successful their strategies prove to be in comparison. Hyenas follow the cheetah mother constantly and their tight community is a real contrast to the cheetah’s lone sense of responsibility.The drama builds as the cheetah mother continues to hunt and fail, while a coalition of six young cheetah males proves how violently effective a hunting formula can be when these large cats decide to team up. Against this backdrop of predation and more subtle cheetah behaviour, we see a highly complex creature operating within a very tight adaptive path.
Is the way of the cheetah a viable one? Can these specialised cats maintain their position on the plains of the Serengeti?
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