On December 31st, 2016 the Cheetah Conservation Fund moved 8 growing cheetah cubs into a new and larger enclosure. The five female and three male cheetahs are about 3/4 of their adult size. The group from the wild mother is now about 10 months, and Zinzi’s cubs are now about 17 months. As they were rapidly growing, their current enclosures were becoming too small, so the cheetah cubs needed a bigger space to run and exercise. The new pens are quite large at about 3 hectare (almost 7.5 acres).
The task started by preparing several large crates to hold the cheetahs as they were transferred between locations. A team of staff lifted the crates into trucks and drove them to the enclosure that the cheetahs were currently being held. They were met by cheetah noises and growls as the cubs noticed their arrival. Once at the location the crates were placed with their doors lining up with the doors on the enclosure, and the cheetahs were ushered into the crates by strategically placing staff along the outside of the pen to encourage the cheetahs to funnel in. Anywhere from one to three cheetahs were put into the crates at a time, and then the crate door was closed and the cubs were ready for transport.
Transporting the crates involved a team of four people who would each take hold of a corner and lift the crate up in a truck. The cheetah cubs rustled inside but were mostly still and calm as they were carried and driven to their new location. At the new location a similar process was followed; the crates were lined up with the door of their new enclosure and opened. The cheetahs darted out of their crates and ran quickly along the edges of the new enclosure and began the process of getting used to their new home.
The total process involved two trips and four crates. It was a lot of hard work and heavy lifting, but the process went very smoothly for humans and cubs alike, and the cubs are sure to be comfortable in their larger homes for the new year.