Into Africa for our Rietvlei cheetah male

 

Last year September saw the relocation of three cheetah adolescents to three reserves around the country. Of these three, one male in particular, was temporarily relocated to Rietvlei Nature Reserve in Pretoria to await the news of his final destination.

Genetic samples are taken from the male before relocating to Rietvlei.

On 17 December 2020, three cheetah including our male, boarded a flight to Zambia as part of a collaboration between the Endangered Wildlife Trust, Zambia’s Department of National Parks & Wildlife, African Parks, Ashia Cheetah Conservation and National Geographic. The goal? To reintroduce a small founding group of cheetah to the ~6600km2 Bangweulu Wetlands in Zambia. They will be the first of their species to grace the protected and uniquely community-owned wetland in almost a century. The three cheetah, who have spent the last month in a boma acclimating to their new home, will be released onto the reserve pending the arrival of the female group which has been slightly delayed. The cheetah will be fitted with tracking collars to closely monitor their movement and behaviour to better ensure their success in the area.

Our male bonding with another from Mountain Zebra National Park in the boma in Zambia © EWT.

Our boy is currently being bonded with another male from Mountain Zebra National Park and will be released as a coalition. According to Vincent Van der Merwe, Endangered Wildlife Trust’s Cheetah Range Expansion Programme Coordinator, “…they are already the best of friends”.

Not only will this introduction restore biodiversity to the wetland, but it will also increase the safe space available to ensure the survival of this enigmatic and vulnerable species in the region over the long-term.

We thank all parties involved for the good work they do and are privileged to help contribute to the range expansion of these magnificent cats!

Our boy has grown into a magnificent male © EWT.



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