It has been a busy start to 2019 for the cheetah department here at CCF Namibia. We have already received three new young cheetahs from situations where the cubs were being held in captivity without the appropriate permits. The Ministry of Environment and Tourism (MET) has been tightening its enforcement of regulations regarding carnivores in captivity during the last year and as a result we have experienced an increase in the number of confiscation cases that MET asks for our assistance on. We have a firm belief that cheetahs belong in the wild but in some cases, this isn’t possible due to individuals being orphaned at too young an age and from lacking enough experience in the wild, or from having too much human exposure. While our work focuses on keeping wild cheetahs in the wild, it is important for us to attend these call outs within our community to ensure the cheetahs involved receive the care they need and deserve, and to spread awareness and understanding within our community that cheetahs are not and should never be pets.
Our most recent arrival is named Savannah, and we estimate her age at around 18 months. She was confiscated in early February 2019 after MET contacted us regarding her situation and requested, we transfer her to our facility. Those who had her were unsure of where she came from or her history but decided to hand-raise her as she would not have survived on her own in the wild. Even though this was a kind thing to do, law requires that in such situations MET be notified so that they can decide the best course of action to take, as keeping a carnivore in captivity requires a permit. Though she is quite a nervous cheetah, Savannah is doing well, is getting to know her keepers, and is adjusting to life at CCF.
At the end of January, we received two young cubs, one male and one female estimated to be 6 or 7 months of age. Again, this was a confiscation case as the facility lacked the necessary permits to keep these cubs. Fortunately, both cubs had only been in captivity for a short period and had minimal human contact during that time. At CCF they both had a standard medical exam and after looking at their teeth it was clear they were closer to 8 months old. Both the cubs are still in their quarantine period but are doing very well. They are both very feisty and always hungry! Due to their age at capture and the limited human contact they had before we collected them, these cubs are potential release candidates. The cubs will stay with us until they are at least two years of age, at which point we will reassess their release candidacy status and, if it is positive, begin the necessary preparations for their release.
Please stay tuned to CCF on social media for updates regarding these individuals and visit our website to learn more information about CCF and the work we do with cheetahs such as these three.