At least, in captivity that is. Cheetahs simply will not breed in captivity. She calls it, the Catwalk. This could be the secret to the sex life of the cheetah. They call it, the Catwalk. Because just a year ago, these cheetahs had no libido at all. They just sat there. As is common in zoos, the males and females were all on exhibit together, oblivious to each other.
Neither of the two females had ever even come on heat. She decided to run a test. From now on, the males would live together as one big boy band. And within a week the change was simply unbelievable. And this is Nyomfoza, his brother, with a nice bit of drool going. Once the all male gang formed, it was as if the lid had been taken off their behaviour. They basically just came out of their shell. They started showing all these natural behaviours just things we had never seen.
Friendly scuffles helped sort out hierarchies. To Rebecca, they just looked happier. But meanwhile, what about the girls? Well they were going through some pretty remarkable changes too. They were starting to swish their tails. It meant they were coming on heat. It was time for the two sexes to meet.
One at a time, Rebecca took the boys through to the catwalk area. Just 30 days ago, these boys were completely ignoring the girls. But now, their reaction was astonishing. It was just unbelievable. They were also making an incredible stuttering sound Rebecca had never heard before.
It was the sound of sexual excitement. But would it lead to a mating? Cautiously, Rebecca let the male in with the female. Eventually, he plucked up his courage to attempt intercourse. He knew he was supposed to be doing something but tried to mount dog style fashion rather than a cat fashion where the female would lie down and accept the male. She was still standing up, so he copped another whack to the face for his trouble. Clearly, this strategy was not a complete success.
So Rebecca decided to experiment with one last, even more radical change. Instead of introducing the boys one by one, she decided to run the boys through the catwalk together.
No one in the world has ever tried this method before. All three of them are into it now. What Rebecca discovered is that this way, the males learn from each other, and egg each other on. Most importantly, for the first time it allowed the females to choose. And on February this year, Lulu did exactly that.
Induna is the dominant male. Induna means head man in Zulu. So she chose him as her ideal man. Rebecca was there with her handicam. If Induna could only get it right, it would be the first successful cheetah mating in years. But this time, Induna had learned exactly what to do. When Lulu lay down, he mounted her properly, like a cat.