A cheetah has given birth to a giant litter of seven adorable cubs who have already escaped the clutches of a lioness.
In the wild cheetahs usually give birth to three to five young, and they are vulnerable to predators from birth, so to see seven siblings together is very unusual.
The bumper brood was spotted this week in the Maasai Mara by photographers Yaron Schmid and Amy Montminy.
The pair, who run YS Wildlife Photography and Safaris, were with guests when their guide Dominick Maatany showed them the cubs.
Being a cheetah cub is dangerous and they had already escaped the clutches of a lioness who had tried to kill them the night before.
Wildlife photographer and vet Yaron said luckily for these tiny cats they had a clever mum named Siligi to look after them.
He said: ‘Amy and I are on our way back home from leading another amazing safari and our guests were fortunate enough to see it all.
‘But the highlight of the trip was without a doubt, seeing Siligi the cheetah with her seven cubs.
‘Only a few weeks old, and they’ve already been through so much. Our amazing guide, Dominick Maatany, was the first one who spotted this extremely rare sighting.
‘The night before these pictures were taken, a lioness tried to kill the cubs, but Siligi was smart enough to distract her, and the cheetah ran away with two of the cubs.
‘We left her that night, very sad and worried for the fate of the other five cubs, but Dominick did it again, and spotted her the next morning with all seven cubs.’
The adorable little cheetahs were spotted close to the Enkewa Camp in the Maasai Mara.
Amy Montminy, who runs YS Wildlife Photography and Safaris with Yaron, said Siligi will hopefully be able to raise some of the cubs to adulthood.
She said: ‘Cheetah cubs experience a low survival rate due to predators like lions, hyenas, etc, as well as disease.
‘Only about 10 per cent of cheetah cubs reach maturity, so to see seven cubs at once from one litter is rare.
‘This mother, whose name is Siligi will hopefully see one or two of these cuties to adulthood.
‘She’s unfortunately in the Mara, where she’ll experience a lot of pressure from cars, as well as other predators.
‘But cheetahs in Mara also have help from The Mara Meru Cheetah Project where researchers working with Dr Elena Chelysheva will often stand watch over young cubs in their research vehicles, ensuring that tourist vehicles keep proper distance away.
‘Unfortunately, one of the research vehicles broke down, and as a result her researchers cannot be in the field, so Siligi will not have that added level of protection unless critical funding can be raised for the project.’