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Cheetah Family & Me - everything you need to know

Cheetah Family & Me
(Image credit: BBC/Hello Halo TV/Mags Vorster)

New BBC nature documentary Cheetah Family & Me gives us new insight into the harsh lives of South African big cats

Cheetah Family & Me aims to explore the threats that cheetahs face in Africa. It will look at the problems from both the natural and the human world faced by the fastest land animal in the modern world.

The show follows two sets of cheetah families in and around South Africa’s vast Tswalu Kalahari Reserve. Alongside local cheetah experts, it brings viewers up close and personal with some of Africa's fiercest wild cats.

Here's everything you need to know about the BBC's latest nature documentary!

When is Cheetah Family & Me on TV?

Wild cheetah Savannah and cub, Tswalu Kalahari Reserve, South Africa.

Wild cheetah Savannah and cub in South Africa

Cheetah Family & Me airs on BBC2 at 9pm on Tuesday 5th January. It concludes tomorrow at the same time on BBC2 (see our TV Guide for full listings).

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Who presents Cheetah Family & Me?

Gordon Buchanan MBE is on presenting duties. He is a wildlife photographer who has filmed animals for shows like Springwatch, the BBC’s Natural World series, and Planet Earth II.

Gordon has also presented similar programmes in the past. Previously, he has presented documentaries following families of reindeer, bears and snow cats. Cheetah Family & Me is only the latest of many of his up-close wildlife documentaries.

What happens in the first episode?

In the first episode of Cheetah Family & Me, Gordon meets with cheetah expert and guide Richard Satekege. Together, they are tracking a mother cheetah called Savannah. Savannah is trying to find enough prey to feed both herself and her four six-month-old cubs.

The Kalahari is currently suffering from a multi-year desert. This means there are fewer antelope around for predators to feed on. With leopards also providing fierce competition for prey, Savannah’s fight for survival for herself and her four cubs is harder than ever.

We’ll also meet cheetah guide Julius Mkhize. He tracks cheetah mother Chili eight hundred kilometres south, in the Samara Private Game Reserve. Chili has just given birth to five cheetah kittens who need feeding. Chili’s family are also under pressure due to drought, but a plague of locusts presents a very different challenge to the big cat family.