The Remarkable Story of the Five Orphaned Cheetah Cubs and their Second Chance at Life
Horror struck in September 2021 when a litter of five 7-8month old Cheetah cubs were caught by farmers in the Kalahari. Their mother was nowhere to be found and these five big-eyed cats were still too young to survive on their own.
Thanks to the collaboration between NWPG Nature Conservation, Cheetah Outreach Trust, Ashia Cheetah Conservation and the Ann van Dyk Cheetah Centre, they safely arrived at our Centre for temporary holding until ready for relocation.
One of the cub’s eye was not looking very healthy and needed serious medical attention by Dr Peter Caldwell.
Caring for 5 wild Cheetahs is not an easy job. Definitely if they are not even a year old and very scared of their new environment and people. Luckily this was not our first rodeo and with lots of patience and expertise, we managed to check on their wellbeing every day without causing too much stress.
As mentioned in previous post, one of the orphans needed surgery. He unfortunately lost his eye due to a severe injury. But even with one eye, our Houdini is a true artist in hiding and suddenly sneaking up on you during feeding times.
8 months after their arrival, in May 2022, the 5 orphans were finally ready for relocation to their permanent homes. The 2 females were sedated, thoroughly health checked, fitted with a satellite collar and transported to Madikwe’s Purple Rain for temporary holding.
4 months after the females, in October 2022, 2 of the males were also sedated, health checked and collared for transport to Abelana Game Reserve. There they were housed in the boma for a few weeks, to adapt to their new paradise, before being released onto the reserve.
In November 2022, the 2 females were transported to Lapalala Wilderness’s holding boma for further honing of their hunting skills and training to open up carcasses.
The 2 males at Abelana Game Reserve have been released onto their lands and are just loving their new life, already true Casanova’s in the field.
Lapalala Wilderness has successfully released one of the two females. She is a stunning hunter and is showing great potential for future generations.
It is with great sadness the 5th orphan, with only 1 eye – named Houdini, is found non-releasable due to not being capable to hunt for himself anymore. But he has become part of our permanent family at the Centre and is already showing interest to bond with another male next door. We cannot wait to see what a stunning, big male he will become!
Last but not least, in January 2023, the remaining female at Lapalala was relocated to Kwandwe Private Game Reserve, in the Eastern Cape, as part of EWT’s Cheetah Range Expansion Project. She will be playing a big part in creating a greater genetic diversity in the area. All our fingers are crossed wishing her the best future possible. This story is an example of true conservation.
Without the collaboration between so many passionate Cheetah people, none of these Cheetahs would had the opportunity to the second chance they deserve.
Thank you so much for your ongoing support and endless efforts to help save this remarkable species: NWPG Nature Conservation, Cheetah Outreach Trust, Ashia Cheetah Conservation, Dr Peter Caldwell, Madikwe’s Purple Rain, Lapalala Wilderness, Abelana Game Reserve and Kwandwe Private Game Reserve.
You are all rockstars!!