Two new female cheetah

Over the last couple of years there has been at least one male cheetah resident on the reserve, while a few other younger males are seen from time to time, probably moving in and out of the reserve.

However, no female was ever seen and it was decided to introduce some females and try to establish a breeding population on the reserve.

This would not only make the males happy, but would also bolster the cheetah population in the Waterberg as well as adding another attraction for guests to view. So at the end of February Welgevonden got two new residents and two female cheetah were introduced into the bomas at Welgevonden. We went to pick up the cheetah from Phinda Game Reserve in Maputaland, where they were free-roaming until the time of their capture. They were kept in a boma for a short while after their capture early on the morning of the 27th February.

After some blood tests, they were each loaded in their separate crates for the long trip to their new home. After 9 hours on the road they arrived at Welgevonden and were released into a boma just after sunset. They will be kept in the boma for about 6 weeks so that they can settle down and adapt to their new environment before they will be released on the reserve. As they are still young animals,  we anticipate that it will be easier for them to adapt to their new environment and hopefully find some boyfriends soon.

Update:
May 2009

In March we reported that two cheetah females were introduced into the boma at Welgevonden, before they would be released on the reserve. On the 5th of May they were finally released and are now freely roaming on the reserve.

A carcass was used to entice them to move into a smaller side boma and the gate behind them was closed. The gate to the outside world was then opened, but they stayed on the carcass for another 45 minutes. With some encouragement they exited the smaller boma, but settled down in the drainage line about 50 metres from the boma. The leftovers of the carcass was removed and put down close to where they were lying down. After a few moments they came out of the long grass and dragged the carcass into the drainage line, where they finished their last free meal.

From now on they are on their own, and will have to work for their food. Everyone is excited about the two new occupants on the reserve, and hope that they will settle down successfully in their new home.