From the Kalahari to Limpopo via the Eastern Cape!
We are thrilled to share some wonderful news with you – the cheetah affectionately known as the “Kalahari Female” has been successfully rehomed! After being captured at Nyosi Wildlife Reserve in the Eastern Cape on the 8th of June 2023, she embarked on a journey to her new home at Selati Game Reserve, arriving safely just 24 hours later.
The Kalahari Female and her brother had been under the care of Nyosi as foster cheetahs. Our partners at The Metapopulation Initiative worked tirelessly to find permanent homes for these precious felines. It was essential to relocate the Kalahari siblings to separate reserves to ensure the preservation of the cheetah species’ genetic integrity and contribute to the cheetah metapopulation project.
Undoubtedly, operations like these come with their fair share of challenges, and the team approached this task with the utmost care. Veterinary procedures for cheetahs carry a 20-30% risk of complications, and our team took every possible precaution to minimize any potential risks. Unfortunately, despite our careful planning, the Kalahari Male experienced complications during his sedation in April 2023 when he was being moved to a larger Eastern Cape reserve, resulting in his untimely passing while in transit. These projects involve risks for both the animals and our dedicated team members. Nevertheless, with the overall cheetah population continuing to grow, we firmly believe that the conservation benefits of successful relocations far outweigh the risks, and our commitment to cheetah conservation remains unwavering.
For the capture and translocation of the Kalahari Female in June, we employed a helicopter with a skilled game capture pilot to dart her swiftly. This allowed us to fit her with a GPS collar, conduct necessary health checks, and place her in a transport crate with minimal stress. The Nyosi team dedicated the morning to tracking her, ensuring we knew her precise location before the game capture team arrived. This meticulous planning resulted in an exceptionally smooth operation. Our wildlife veterinarian adopted a conservative approach to drug administration, prioritizing the well-being of the cheetah and reducing the chances of complications.
Once securely placed in her crate, the cheetah regained consciousness. Although slightly disoriented, she found comfort in her natural wooden crate during the journey to Selati Game Reserve in the Limpopo Province of South Africa. To ensure her safety and well-being, the cheetah transport team made a brief overnight stop to rest before continuing the journey.
The joy and relief our team experienced upon learning of her safe arrival at her new home were immeasurable. She was released into an enclosure where she could acclimate to her surroundings. This journey marked the end of her long travels, and we have every confidence that she will settle in splendidly. We eagerly await news of future cubs, hopeful that she will continue the legacy of the “Kalahari Siblings”.
We extend our heartfelt gratitude to the incredible team and partners who supported and assisted us throughout this operation. The collaboration and dedication of the following organizations and individuals have made this rehoming a success:
- The Metapopulation Initiative
- The Aspinall Foundation
- Dr Murray Stokoe
- Stenden South Africa
- Indalo NPC
- Nyosi Wildlife Reserve
Together, we are making a significant impact on cheetah conservation, and this successful rehoming serves as a testament to our collective efforts. The cheetah population continues to thrive due to projects like these, and we remain steadfast in our commitment to protect and preserve this magnificent species.
Stay tuned for more updates as we embark on new endeavours to safeguard the future of cheetahs and their habitats. Together, we can ensure a brighter future for these iconic big cats.
How to support our Cheetah Rewilding Project
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