WATCH: Cheetah territorial fight is just heartbreaking

2017-11-20 08:30
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Cape Town - Four cheetahs were not too happy to have a solo cheetah enter their territory, as this footage shows an amazing cheetah encounter as it played out in the Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park in the Kalahari. 

Latestsightings.com caught up with Ria Van Greunen who describes the first time that the Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park brought tears to his eyes, in what he says "was like watching a gangster movie", with the lone cheetah being outnumbered four to one.

"The morning started off with us searching for lions at Sistas waterhole but we had no luck.

"Someone stopped next to us whilst we waited for the lions to arrive at the waterhole and told us there were cheetahs a bit further down the road.

"We slowly drove off to see if they were still there. The place was on the Mata Mata Road between Sistas and Craig Lochardt waterhole.  

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Greunen explains they spotted four cheetahs, nicknamed the 4 Musketeers. 

"One could see they were really big cheetahs. We first watched them doing their usual business of playing games, rolling around in the grass, soaking up the sun… They later lay down in the grass on the other side of the riverbed and were completely camouflaged in the surroundings.

"There were Springbuck in the river bed so we waited to see if there might be an early morning kill. 

"Another car stopped by and said there was a single cheetah on the other end of the river bend. This single cheetah is known as Corrine," says Greunen.

"At first we thought it was one of the Musketeers who went off in chase of the springbuck because it was very difficult to see them from where they were laying in the grass, but after I zoomed in with my video I saw the 4 Musketeers were still together.

"We waited but could not see Corrine anywhere. The springbuck were close to where she was, so we knew if she going to kill it will be upwards towards the vicinity where the 4 Musketeers were laying.

"Corrine charged the Springbuck but the attempt failed. The buck then ran off in the direction of the 4 Musketeers. They did not really know what was going on and tried to catch the springbuck running in and out amongst them. Clearly they were not very happy knowing that Corrine was in their turf.

"This is when they spotted her and in my heart I knew what was going to happen next… There were already tears in my eyes. 

The video shows how they slowly started to walk towards her.  The 4 musketeers then launched an attack on Corrine.

"You know that feeling, if I only can chase them away and help her but she did not move away and the attack happened so quickly.  When they first began to fight she had made no effort to move and they attacked her 4 times with intervals of 2 to 4 minutes.  

"The in-between times they were also licking their wounds not prepared to give up so easily. We heard calling sounds in the direction from where she started her chase. We thought maybe there were young ones nearby and assumed that this might be the reason as to why she did not move away from the fight, afraid they would kill the babies or youngsters.  I asked some other people at our campsite if they also heard the calling noises and they confirmed it.

"She fought only with her upper body every time and never lifted her back from the ground. We thought they might have broken her lower back. One could see she had an open wound on her right foreleg and her mouth was also full of blood and she also had some ugly bite marks on her back.

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The Musketeers eventually left her alone. Later we drove off to Kamqua for a picnic, with mixed emotions, and I was afraid I don’t want to see how a hyena or any other wild creature takes her apart. I don’t think there was a person watching with us that was not emotionally involved.

"All the ladies I’ve talked to shed a tear. I think some men too but they would probably not admit it.

"With the return from a quick picnic, minds low and still full of emotions, we were not sure what happen in-between and if she was still alive.

"We arrived at the scene and there she was still in the grass at the exact same spot. It was incredibly hot out there.

"The Musketeers were still in the distance under a tree. We sat there for another half an hour and in that time Corinne lifted her head out of the grass on numerous occasions but it was purely to focus in the direction of where the 4 Musketeers were located. The emotions took over again because knew she was badly injured and could not stand up, so we headed back to the camp. 

"We should have stayed. Corinne only got up after 3pm according to another couple. In the video you will clearly see the bite marks on her back. Several campers reported that they were there again at 5 pm and the Musketeers came down to smell and sniff around where the fight had taken place. We were informed that the 4 Musketeers followed her tracks where she had disappeared off to somewhere in the dunes.

According to Greunen, on 30 August 2017, he was told that Corrine had been sighted and she was doing well.

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