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AssetID : 37279677
Headline : Cheetah Mother And Cubs Halt Airplane Take-off
Caption :
As airline delays go, this may take some beating.

A Kenyan passenger plane had to stop on the runway as a cheetah mother and her cubs were resting on it.

Thankfully the patient pilot slowed to a halt to let them clear before he took off.

Photographer and guide Paul Goldstein has spent years of his life with cheetahs. He says he has NEVER seen anything like this before.

Wimbledon-based Paul, who works for Exodus Travels (, takes up the story:

“This cheetah, a mother called Kisaru, meaning ‘Lucky’ in the local Maa, was in the heart of Mara North Conservancy. She is very tolerant and has six ten-week-old cubs. She is a gift for safari goers and fortunately is not harassed by cars as there are strict vehicle limits in the off-road paradises that make up the Mara Conservancies.”

Paul, who along with Chris Packham is doing three wildlife lectures in the next two weeks in London, Leamington and Edinburgh (, continues: “She and her family had been terrorised by three male lions earlier but had still managed to catch a small snack for them all, a scrub hare. It is incredibly difficult for cheetahs to bring up a brood of that size to full maturity, but she is managing well so far.

She paused for a rest on the graded runway of Mara North. Unbeknownst to her an Air Kenya Dash 7 had landed a few minutes earlier.

Before too long the 50-seater de Havilland gunned her four props and taxied down the airstrip, looming over the seemingly initially indifferent felines.

Initially we were terrified for this spotted family but before long the rangers drove adjacent to the plane and pointed out the trespassers. I am utterly convinced the pilot had seen them already as he slowed to a crawl to allow their mother and her tiny charges to exit the runway. It was heart in the mouth for a bit but hats off to the captain who as he took off waved to us on the ground and his smile was a mile wide. I would loved to have heard the announcement inside the Air Kenya fuselage.

The mother seemed unfazed by her ordeal and was hunting a few minutes later.”

Paul was guiding out of Kicheche Mara Camp (, one of three camps he co-owns in the Mara Conservancies.
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