Photograph by Gus MillsNational Geographic Big Cats explorer Gus Mills is examining cheetahs in the arid environment of the Kalahari. The cheetahs are tracked using San trackers, radios, and DNA analyses. This data helps park managers ensure the continued existence of the cheetahs and future monitoring. It also serves as an example for the conservation of the species in other arid regions. With National Geographic's support, Mills was able to complete his fieldwork and research.
Pictured: A three-week-old cub squashes one of its two litter mates during a brief visit by Mills to the den while the mother was out hunting. Mills and his team need to count the cubs and collect DNA from fur samples in order to establish paternity. Such brief interactions do not disturb the cheetahs, and they have never observed any adverse reaction by the mother or cubs.
Photograph by Gus MillsA mother cheetah feeds her four six-week-old cubs a springbok in what could be their first experience of meat. This mother was successful in raising all four male cubs to independence.