Zinzi Update – Cub Sighting and Eye Injury

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Camera trap photo showing Zinzi and her cubs at the supplemental feeding spot.

Camera trap photo showing Zinzi and her cubs at the supplemental feeding spot. Photo courtesy of Aloegrove Safari Lodge

Unfortunately for us, Zinzi’s collar failed in April and we lost track of her and her cubs for a few weeks. The only information we had on her during this time was visual sightings by a neighbouring lodge. The couple of times that she was seen by the lodge staff, they only saw three of her four cubs. From this information we had assumed that she likely had lost one of the cubs which is statistically common in cheetahs.

Zinzi's old cracked collar top and newly fitted collar bottom. You can see the battery for the transmitter is exposed causing the collar to no longer function.

Zinzi’s old cracked collar top and newly fitted collar bottom. You can see the battery for the transmitter is exposed causing the collar to no longer function.

Then in a turn of luck, two Sundays ago our neighbours at Aloegrove Safari Lodge saw two young cheetahs around one of their waterholes and notified us. We went over to Aloegrove Farm right away to have a look and found Zinzi! We immediately mobilized a team at CCF who met us in the field where we darted Zinzi and changed her collar. We tried to capture the cubs using Zinzi to tempt them out of hiding, but Zinzi was too clever and never called to them. We did not catch any of the cubs but we did get a glimpse of them and some photos later.

As soon as we let Zinzi go she immediately started calling and searching for her cubs and kept it up for five minutes afterwards! We put out a large chunk of meat for Zinzi, and Aloegrove put up a camera trap at the meat. We were able to get images of all four of Zinzi’s cubs using the camera traps!!!! (see top image) This was unexpected so you can imagine how excited we were to learn of this. We later got a visual on all four cubs together with Zinzi and they all look to be in great condition!

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We do have one concern with Zinzi at the moment. Her left eye is injured and sight in that eye has become compromised. We are not sure of the extent of blindness in the injured eye, but it seems there is a chance it could heal, so we are hopeful.

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