Baby Cheetah by artists Gillie and Marc

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NAME

TITLE
Wild Baby Cheetah

GENDER
Female

AGE
5 months

FOUND
Africa and Central Iran

CONSERVATION STATUS 
Vulnerable

On the grasslands of Africa is a litter of 5-month-old cheetah cubs who love to play. Wrestling and tumbling together they teach each other important life skills to be the best cheetah’s they can be. But this little girl must be careful. As well as her natural predators, she must watch out for humans. Her mother warned her that if she were ever to be captured, they would take her away and sell her as a pet where she would never be free again.

As the fastest land mammal in the world, the cheetah would leave most cars in the dust, reaching speeds of up to 128km/h, and perhaps even more impressively, hitting 95km/h in just 3 seconds! Yet even at these speeds, cheetahs are not just limited to a straight line. They are very nimble, and able to change direction suddenly, but once they hit their top speed, they can only maintain it for about 30 seconds.

Cheetahs can have up to 8 cubs in a single litter. These babies are born blind and completely helpless, with a mohawk-like hairstyle which they lose as they get older. It is thought that this interesting hair helps disguise them as a honey badger, giving them some protection from both the badgers who may hunt them, and other predators who avoid them. This is very important as cubs are at great risk of death from predation. For the first two months of their life, their mother must be very cautious, never going far from her cubs and moving them every 5 or 6 days. When this high-risk period is over, the cubs will start following their mother everywhere she goes, starting to replace their mothers’ milk with solid food. They spend a lot of time practising to hunt, with mum letting her prey go for them to re-catch. They will stay together, playing and learning everything they need to know, before leaving at around 20 months. 

Most cheetah subspecies, of which there are five, live on the grassy plains of Africa. One, the Asiatic cheetah is the only surviving cheetah population in Asia and only found in central Iran. With less than 50 remaining, this subspecies is listed as critically endangered.

There are many threats to cheetahs, but habitat loss is one of the biggest. In Africa, about 76% of their habitat is outside of protected areas. With more, and more, of their habitat being transformed for agriculture, roads, and settlements, cheetahs are finding it harder to create a territory of their own, and still find enough prey. As a result, they are often forced to hunt the livestock which surrounds their territories, leading to deadly retaliations from the farmer. Furthermore, being very social 'big cats', and easy to train, cheetahs are also at a higher risk of being caught and sold on the exotic pet trade. And, of course, they are still sadly also poached for their beautiful furs.

HOW TO HELP
Based off real animals that Gillie and Marc met while travelling, the public will be able to meet individual animals. 

Through public art, more people will come into contact with these sculptures, will stop and consider them, will take a photograph, and will discuss this with their friends and family. With this increased exposure, the message of love, family, and conservation will be spread much further than any piece of art in a gallery ever could. It will bring people into close contact and will help them to fall in love, and with love comes a greater urge to want to create a change and save all endangered animals. 

The sculpture will be aligned with the hashtags #LoveTheLast and #wildaboutbabies to raise unparalleled awareness about the sculpture’s cause across the globe.

To help protect these babies you can adopt them and help them via the WWF: > Click here: www.wwf.org.au 

If you are interested in buying Wild About Babies related art, you will also be directly helping real babies in the wild with 30% going to WWF to continue their fantastic work for animals conservation: Click here to browse art https://gillieandmarc.com/collections/wild-about-babies

ABOUT GILLIE AND MARC
Gillie and Marc’s highly coveted public artworks can be found worldwide including in New York, London, Singapore, Shanghai, and Sydney. They are Archibald Prize finalists, won the Chianciano Biennale in Italy, took out the Allens People’s Choice Award in 2016 and 2018 and Kids’ Choice Award in the 2016 Sculpture by the Sea and received the Bayside Arts Festival People's Choice Award in 2019 in Sydney.

The husband-and-wife duo are on a mission to make art for a better tomorrow. They are best known for their beloved characters, Rabbitwoman and Dogman, who tell the autobiographical tale of two opposites coming together as best friends and soul mates.

Gillie and Marc are also passionate eco-warriors and have dedicated their lives to protecting nature.

Gillie grew up with the wildlife in Zambia and Marc studied chimpanzees in Tanzania as a young man. Over time, the artists developed a deep appreciation for all living things and a desire to preserve the magnificence of the natural world. 

Through their art, Gillie and Marc aim to transform passive audiences into passionate advocates for animal conservation. Their mission is to use their work as a platform to continue spreading awareness about endangerment, which will ultimately lead to change and save species from extinction.

Their art has raised hundreds of thousands in donations for the many wildlife charities and causes they support through their project Love The Last.

Please follow @gillieandmarcart