Wildlife photographer and conservationist Gus Mills has been studying the large carnivores of Africa for over forty years. In that time he’s studied animals such as the lions of the Serengeti Plains and the hyenas and wild dogs of the Kruger National Park in northeastern South Africa.
In 2006, Gus turned his attention to the Cheetahs of the Kalahari. The Kalahari is a semi-arid area of southern Africa which covers a large part of Botswana, as well as significant areas of neighboring Namibia and South Africa.
The Kalahari is still home to many species of animals, despite the increasing encroachment of agriculture. The lions, elephants and giraffes that once roamed the fertile lands around the area’s rivers may be long gone, but cheetahs and leopards still remain. It was the cheetahs that Gus was most interested in, and since he began to study them a decade ago, he’s got to know at least three hundred and fifty of these elegant predators very well indeed.
Gus was invited to study the cheetahs of the Kalahari by National Geographic’s Big Cats Initiative program.
The Big Cats Initiative aims to avert the extinction of big cats in the wild through a wide range of innovative conservation projects.
One of the areas the Initiative is interested in is the Kalahari. This area is still home to a sizable number of cheetahs who have managed to carve out a life for themselves despite humans turning much of the fertile areas of the Kalahari into grazing land for cattle.