Veteran wildlife filmmaker Simon King takes on a new role in The Cheetah Orphans — that of a surrogate mother. After their cheetah mother is killed by a lion, Simon assumes the parenting responsibilities for the cubs, Toki and Sambu — a life-changing experience that Simon describes as “privileged, humbling and enriching.”
Hand-rearing the brothers, teaching them the life skills cheetahs need to survive, and observing the cubs as they pass through key stages of their development, Simon’s efforts to rehabilitate the cheetahs and reintroduce them to the world of wild cheetahs is filled with delight but also sadness. Simon becomes more deeply attached to the orphans, making difficult, yet critical decisions that determine their fate. When tragedy strikes, Simon is overcome with emotion, but has to make clear decisions for the welfare of Toki.