Learning to Count: Part I

Recently, we saw a bulk of cheetah photographs. Cheetahs may not be residents on Neuras, but we know they pass through from time to time using the farm as a corridor in the larger landscape.

When I saw the first sighting, I noticed something interesting on the time stamps in the bottom right corner of the photos.

Cheetah pauses at camera-trap, Neuras, Namibia



“Two cheetahs!” I said. One walked by and then a minute later, a second one came into view.

“I don’t think so,” said Kate, peering over my shoulder. “Look at the spot patterns on the left hind leg. That’s the same cheetah.”

And so it was. The infrared flash from the camera must have startled the cheetah, and it froze for more than a minute trying to assess the situation before continuing on its way.

Then I found a second sighting at a waterhole not far away.

“I think there are two cheetahs,” I told Matt. “You can just make out the eye of the second one behind the bush on the left.”

“I don’t think so,” Matt replied. “It’s too tall and it lacks a carnivore’s binocular vision. That’s the kudu that was drinking there a few minutes ago.”

I kept looking through photos and found another sighting:



“I’m telling you, there are two cheetahs,” I said when I found this third sighting. “One walks by the waterhole and a minute later, a second one appears.” But all I got in reply was a raised eyebrow. The first photo wasn’t clear enough to differentiate the spot patterns.

“Just wait,” I said. “We’re going to see two cheetahs.”

A few days later we collected another round of memory cards: