During the late 90’s deep in the Okavango delta region of Botswana, investigators discovered a small pride of lions which they named the Western Pride.
Before we go further , you need to know some facts about lion social behavior. The basic social structure of lions is the Pride: a group of several females and their cubs, all protected by an alpha male and sometimes a few lesser males. Although the females actually do most of the hunting for the group; they all depend on the protection provided by the larger and more powerful males. The more males the pride has, the larger territory they can defend. Lions do have enemies; hippos, rhinos, jackals, hyenas, and even other prides of lions.
What scientists found in the Western pride was a special lioness with a large dark and full mane, and moves almost identically to a mature male lion. They named her Martina; although she has passed on, she has been replaced by another such special lioness known as Mmamoriri, who has been observed to exhibit strong male behavior; including attempting to mount other females. During a battle with another pride, over a buffalo carcass, she was seen to hold off ten other lionesses for four hours, until two large males arrived, attacked her as a male, forcing her retreat.
Since then there has been great speculation as to the cause of this phenomenon, but the effects of this aberration are quite easy to understand. More males enable the pride to be more resistant to attack, defend a larger territory, and improve their chance of survival.
I’ve always enjoyed painting lions. To see more Click Here.
It’s easy to see why so many people are attracted to the zebra’s bold pattern of stripes.
They have been used and mimicked by designers everywhere, and are quite prominent throughout our culture. So they make the Zebra easy to see , but how can that be an advantage, and offer them any kind of protection?
The answer lies in how we ( and their predators) perceive the black and white pattern.
Combined these two contrasting colors, play tricks on our mind. (Black and white are also the most common colors used in optical illusions.) The real confusion begins when the zebras begin to run, creating a pattern that has been named “Motion Dazzle”.
This effect makes it difficult for any predator to focus on them and estimate their speed and direction; thus enabling them to escape. An example of this is the “Wagon Wheel Effect”, where you see a fast moving wheel appears to be stationary or even moving backwards. This occurs because our vision takes “snapshots” frequently and links them together to form a kind of movie, just like a video recorder. When a spoke moves rapidly forward between snapshots, it will look like it is moving backwards because it will be perceived as the following spoke.
Whether or not this is sufficient to protect a zebra from their enemies ( lions) remains somewhat controversial.
What do you think?
As long as I can remember Cheetahs have had a special place in my heart. I admire their beauty , grace and speed. They are the fastest animal on the land, capable of accelerating from zero to 60 miles or 96 kilometers in 3 seconds. Even at these high speeds they can
make sharp and sudden turns to get their prey. However, they can only sprint this fast for short distances and must sneak up on their prey to get close enough to catch it with their short burst of speed. Their chases are over in less than one minute.
Their beautiful spotted coat serves to permit them to blend into the grasses, making them hard to see. They also have excellent eye sight enabling them to find their prey which is often well camouflaged by the grasslands, requiring them to hunt solely during the daylight hours.
After making a kill cheetahs need to drag their prey into a hiding place or risk it being stolen by hyenas, lions, leopards or several other creatures. Cheetahs are pretty tough and can survive without water for up to four days.
Cheetahs usually have litters of 2 or 3 cubs, and raise them for about 2 years, during which they learn how to hunt for themselves. They have a life span of 10 tom 12 years in the wild. Males live alone or in small groups, often with their brothers.
Cheetahs are found in central and southeastern Africa, but only less than 10,000 are estimated to be left today. These numbers continue to decrease as more and more land is devastated by humans.
My latest cheetah painting (on the right) can be seen at my website. Click to View.
Samara Private Game Reserve / September 11, 2015
It is with great sadness that we share with you the devastating news of the passing of Sibella, a cheetah whose story and legacy had captured hearts and minds throughout the world. As the first wild cheetah reintroduced into South Africa’s Great Karoo region in 125 years, and contributing 3% to the wild cheetah population in South Africa through her various litters, Sibella had become an internationally-recognised ambassador for cheetah conservation.
She died aged fourteen in the early hours of Friday 11th September 2015 after an altercation with a duiker during a hunt, which left her with a gaping hole in her abdomen. Despite the vet’s best efforts, she did not make it through the night.
Sibella leaves behind an extraordinary legacy. A powerful symbol of the special relationship between man and wild beast, this exceptional cat has done more than merely touch our hearts and allow us to marvel at her beauty. Her story embodies not only the plight of the cheetah, but the immense potential for successful conservation of a species on the precipice of extinction.
Born wild in South Africa’s North West province, Sibella’s life nearly ended at the hands of hunters when she was only two years old. Set upon by dogs that tore the flesh from her hind legs, she was savagely beaten and locked in a cage. Lying at death’s door, she was fortunate enough to be rescued by the De Wildt Cheetah and Wildlife Trust. She owes her life to the five-hour surgery and dedicated rehabilitation that ensued.
In December 2003, she began a new chapter in her life when she was released onto Samara Private Game Reserve near Graaff-Reinet. Since then, she has surpassed all expectations. Outliving most cheetah in the wild, she has proved herself to be a capable hunter despite her previous injuries. Successfully rearing an astonishing 20 cubs in four litters since her release, she has also been an exemplary mother – giving birth on steep mountain slopes to avoid potential predators and eating only after her young have had their fill.
The unspoken bond she shared with the humans in her new home was extraordinary – with the birth of each new litter, when the cubs were old enough to leave their den, this wild cat dutifully presented to her human guardians her latest bundles of fur. The degree of trust she vested in human beings, walking to within just a few metres of them, was simply astounding – her past suffering at the hands of her tormentors all but forgotten.
Sibella’s story, from tortured to treasured, is symbolic of the change in mindset required to conserve our planet’s biodiversity. We mourn her loss but seek comfort in knowing that she lived and died in a wild environment. We feel incredibly privileged to have been witness to the life of this exceptional cat.
Related articles across the web
The San Diego Wild Animal Park has discovered breeding cheetahs to be a challenge, because the females do not show any obvious behaviors revealing their reproductive state. But they did find when males sniff areas where female cheetahs have been, they sometimes utter a unique call known as: the stutterbark.
Males will emit this call again and again and again while they pace their enclosure and check out the female cheetahs in the nearby enclosures. When the females hear the calls, they don’t respond at first. But when they hear some of the males call, it seems to trigger their hormone system and turn on some special behaviors.
So they used some software to create a brand-new stutterbark that they played to the cheetahs at the Zoo’s Wild Animal Park research area.
After hearing the sound of this “new male,” one of the cheetahs, Kenya, became very, very excited. She started rolling around in the grass on her back, lifted up her tail tip and wagged it, and seemed to be checking out the male cheetahs nearby. When she was placed with a male named Quando, the two of them proceeded to mate. This was good news and the first time that cheetah breeding had resulted from using a sound recording.
Afterwards, Kenya’s fecal samples were regularly checked for specific hormones to see if she was pregnant. Cheetahs are pregnant for about three months, and it looked like the breeding took. With great anticipation they monitored her reproductive state and hoped for a new cheetah cub or a litter of cubs, since cheetahs often have three to four babies at a time. Kenya did not disappoint. She produced a daughter, but because it was only a single baby, and her first cub, caretaking was a bit of a problem. So the baby was brought to the Park’s Animal Care Center and was incorporated into their cheetah education program.
So here is the Good News: there is help being given to assist the survival of this magnificent creature. Several ongoing projects are doing some fine work to expand our knowledge and encourage the breeding of one of my favorite animals.
Find out more Tomorrow….. Jacquie
The world’s cheetah population in zoos is carefully monitored through an international studbook, a database of information about a species in zoos, including the gender, parentage, date of birth, and location of each individual. The North American population is managed by the Species Survival Plan (SSP).
Wildlife Safari in Oregon began breeding cheetahs in 1972 and successfully produced a litter the following year. Since then, 178 cheetahs have been born at the park, making them one of the top breeders of cheetahs in the U.S. and the western hemisphere. They have developed a partnership with the Association of Zoo and Aquarium’s Species Survival Plan for cheetahs, so that cubs born at that park have populated zoos across the U.S.
The addition of new genetics to the population and the promise of cubs are significant to the U.S. population of cheetahs, as according to the breeding recommendations from the American Zoo Association’s Cheetah SSP, the number of cubs born in the U.S. dropped significantly during the 1990s. If American zoos are to maintain a sustainable population of cheetahs, successful breeding must increase and remain at a high level through the rest of this decade. Having these amazing cats in zoo populations allows us to educate the pubic and conduct research that helps the endangered cheetah both in captivity and the wild.
The Species Survival Plan carefully investigates the genetics of each animal in the population and, working with a team of highly skilled managers, veterinarians, and scientists, makes breeding and transfer recommendations for all cheetahs in North American zoos. They also monitor research projects designed to investigate cheetah nutrition, disease, reproduction, behavior, and physiology. Investigations of cheetah physiology are conducted in a full and active collaboration with the Cheetah Conservation Fund (CCF), based in Namibia.
This research and education organization is devoted to conserving the wild cheetah and is recognized worldwide as a leader in cheetah conservation. The CCF works closely with Namibian veterinarians and government organizations to rehabilitate and house orphaned cheetahs, which are then studied to help answer research questions related to cheetah biology and become part of education programs passing information on to the public.
More tomorrow… Jacquie
The cheetah has always been one of my very favorite critters.
The ones I have met have been very docile and friendly;
unlike any of the other big cats.
Unfortunately, cheetahs in the wild have not fared so well.
Status of the Cheetah
Once widespread across the Africa and Asia, cheetah populations have plummeted, following decades of habitat loss and competition with rival carnivores, such as lions, leopards, and hyenas, and also persecution by farmers. Ancient Egyptians often kept cheetahs as pets, and also tamed and trained them for hunting, although they did not domesticate them. Cheetahs are still tamed in the modern world, much to their detriment as the demand in the illegal pet trade continues.
Today, only 12,000 to 15,000 cheetahs remain in Africa, and less than 100 may survive in Iran. The country with the largest population is Namibia, home to about 3,000 cheetahs.
Cheetahs are one of the most popular animals in zoos, serving as ambassadors for their wild counterparts. They are, however, a challenging species to manage in zoos because: they are difficult to breed due to their unique social and breeding behaviors: the adult females are solitary and adult males often live in social groups, and female cheetahs are very selective in choosing mates.
Cheetah Research Today
At the present time, promising new scientific investigations are being conducted to assist cheetah breeding including:
• Artificially inseminating zoo cheetahs with cryo-preserved sperm from cheetahs from the wild in Namibia to improve the genetics of the population
• Improving the breeding techniques and management of zoo animals to increase cub production and improved cub survival rates
• Improving in vitro fertilization and embryo culture techniques to consistently produce cheetah embryos for transfer
• Studying the relationship between cheetah age and subsequent reproductive ability
• Promoting veterinary investigations into kidney function and the causes and treatments of disease
I’ll have more for you tomorrow…
Related articles across the web
Here’s a thumbnail of my new lion painting, inspired by the tragic story of
Cecil the Lion, and dedicated to those who are working to preserve and protect
these magnificent creatures.
To learn and see more go to; http://bit.ly/1Ky2OIB
Related articles across the web
The Asiatic lion is practically extinct in the wild;
estimates now are less than 100 animals.
Although the African lion has not officially been declared “Endangered” , they are now considered a
Here are the numbers: African lion populations have dropped at an alarming rate; in 1950 populations were over 400,000; shrank to 100,000 by 1990; and now are estimated at 30,000, most of which live in National Parks.
Over the last 100 years the geographic range of lions has decreased by over 80%! Loss of habitat is also a big issue.
In recent years most of the lion population has been killed by Hunters; rich people paying big bucks to bag a trophy. How sad.
If we don’t do something (and very soon) to preserve and protect these magnificent animals- they will vanish from the earth.
Related articles across the web
During my career in wildlife art, I have worked in many different media. But my overwhelming favorite is, and has always been; Watercolor.
Why watercolor? Not because it’s easy. In fact, it is regard as one the most difficult of all painting media to master.
Here’s why: I sincerely enjoy everything about watercolor; all the tools; brushes, pigments, and even the paper.
My preference is for heavy weight paper (300 pounds+) with a rough texture, preferably handmade. The rough texture, although making it more difficult to achieve the fine detail I require, allows me to create an image with increased in depth and richness.
The thickness of the paper allows me to lift pigment off the paper, exposing the white, and giving me precise control of the image. The downside of the heavyweight paper is that it requires a lot more paint.
I enjoy mixing the paints; both on my palate creating new colors and on the paper by allowing two pigments to run into each other. Using brilliant colors becomes a thrilling experience for me.
Watercolor allows me to create soft edges, and gives me the ability to move color around painting. It allows me draw; everything from bold washes to very tiny lines and any combination thereof.
My life is good, especially when I’m working in my favor medium: Watercolor.
mbed Here’s a great place to get photos for my animal art projects.
Jacquie Vaux is proud to announce that she will be the featured artist at a benefit to be held to support the Wild Animal Sanctuary in nearby Keensburg, Colorado. This event will be held at The Art and Frame Company, 119 West Oak St., in downtown Fort Collins, Colorado on Friday, May 3, 2013 from 6 until 9 PM.
[Fort Collins ], [CO], [May 2, 2013 ] – What do you do when that cuddly little tiger or lion cub grows up and outweighs you by 2 or 3 or more times? Or what do you do when that adorable bear cub develops claws that could tear through any wall? Many owners of captive wildlife are unable to deal with the consequences of adopting these animals as pets. As a result, the overwhelming majority of these magnificent creatures are left to live in terrible conditions.
When she realize this, Pat Craig started working on a solution. She created the Wild Animal Sanctuary by first adopting large carnivores on her family farm outside of Boulder Colorado, but soon outgrew that facility and moved to a large ranch outside of Lyons, Colorado where they remained for 8 years until a quarry was established nearby. They then moved to their current location outside Keensburg, CO, where they have 720 acres. This has enabled them to set up large individual habitats ranging from 10 to 25 acres specifically designed for each species that they accommodate.
The Wild Animal Sanctuary is a wonderful organization dedicated to adopting and caring for large wild carnivores that have been neglected abandoned and often mistreated. They are the only animal rescue group that provides large natural habitats for their animals. This is no easy task since they currently house over 290 large carnivores including lions, tigers, leopards, cougars, and bears.
Although they frequently are called by local state and even federal authorities to rescue these animals, they receive no monetary support from any governmental agency. They operate solely through donations which they are able to generate. Fortunately, they have been able to find generous donors who have supplied them with their time, talents, expertise and materials to build and maintain their most beneficial program.
Pat frequently states “At The Wild Animal Sanctuary the animals always come first!” Their mission is threefold: 1 – to rescue large carnivores and prevent their further mistreatment; 2 – to care for these animals and provide them with the best possible habitat, enabling them to enjoy the rest of their lives; 3 – to educate the public regarding the Captive Wild Animal Crisis.
Pat stresses, “Educating the public to prevent further escalation of this problem is essential to creating a long term solution.” The sanctuary also contains an educational facility, and a speakers bureau has been created to extend this information out into the community. “Did you realize that there are over 4000 privately owned tigers in the state of Texas alone? And did you know these are more than currently exist in the wild?”
Jacquie Vaux states “I feel very strongly about supporting this most deserving organization, I’m asking everyone I know to support them in their most worthy cause.” As a result she is donating her time effort and animal art to this fund raising benefit. This event will be hosted by The Fine Art and Frame Company, 119 West Oak St., Downtown, Fort Collins, Colorado, on May 3, 2013 from 6 PM to 9 PM.
You can see more of Jacquie’s artwork at:jacquievauxart.com or learn more by reading this blog.