Shakira and her cubs
This year Jonathan Scott followed a very special cheetah mum, Shakira. Before the live TV shows began, she had sucessfully raised five cubs until they were out of the den, a real achievement considering that cub mortality can reach 90 per cent.
As the series got underway, Shakira showed amazing courage, facing down a daunting male lion and then two lionesses to protect her cubs. But sadly, she lost two of the cubs one night probably to lions or other predators. At the end of the series these encounters, and additional threats from Honey's three male cubs (featured previously in Big Cat Week), had forced Shakira to move out of her customary territory.
Since October, Jackson has been keeping us up to date with news from his 'office'. Shakira has been through many lions and hyena territories and met with some pretty hairy challenges, but at the time of writing all three cubs are still alive and have learned much about how to stay out of trouble.
As Jackson reports on December 18th: "You can see what a good mother Shakira is and her babies are all looking healthy. I met Shakira yesterday looking thin, I think she will be hunting today. The hard work has now started as the girls need more food every day. It will be good news for the whole Mara to see another three female cheetahs survive in the savanna. Asanti Shakira!"
For the latest news, hot off the press, visit Jackson's blog.
Meet some of the stars of the past again in their story slideshows below.
Past cheetah stars
First appearing in 2002, Honey became best known as the mother of our youngest cheetah star Toto. More recently, we have followed her three surviving male cubs from 2006.
Kike was well known for her fearlessness and frequent attempts to take refuge on Jonnie's car. And who could forget her use of the sunroof toilet...?
Our youngest cheetah star to date, Toto captured the hearts of our audience. Sadly, and like so many young cheetahs, he didn't survive.