The Cheetah Lesson

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We were on a team building session on Phinda Private Game Reserve in KZN, South Africa, when two cheetah brothers decided to teach us all about teamwork.

It often happens that guests have their designated animals for their stay at a certain game reserve. They will see the same leopard or pride of lion during their entire stay in different situations, witnessing the most beautiful wildlife interactions and bonding with these amazing animals. It is, as if nature assigned them for the best experience.

The two cheetah brothers seemed to be assigned to us and they spoilt us. During the four game drives we had on Phinda, they showed us how a perfect team works. When one brother was resting, the other one was scanning the area. When they were scanning the area together, each of them had his own section he was responsible for. During all their activities they gave each other reassurance and backup. One could see that each of them felt safe in their relationship and the roles were clear. They understood each other even without a look or a sign; they were just connected.

The highlight of the cheetah teamwork was the hunt and if we had not realized until then, now it was very clear they were our designated animals. We were the only vehicles around and following the brothers. They were mobile and intensively scanning the area for potential food. The grass was very high, but the brothers could still see very well. Suddenly they moved faster, the hunt had begun, each of them in a split of a second doing what he was supposed to do. There was a buck in front of us. One brother approached it from the right and chased it towards the other brother waiting on the left. Then the brother on the left took over, made the final sprint and killed the buck. They took a couple of deep breaths and one brother started feeding while the other brother scanned the area for possible other predators and therefore potential danger to their prey. After a while they changed. Now the other brother was feeding on the kill and his brother was on the watch.

We were sitting there speechless, astonished how the two cheetahs showed us exactly what we wanted to accomplish with the team building session in the bush. Teamwork at it’s best.

Ute Sonnenberg
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