I’ve got to say, it feels great to be back on the Reserve after being away! I know it was only for a week but still…
As far as the boys are concerned, they seem to be doing great. Their condition is excellent and they still appear to be eating regularly.
Misty and Rosy should be boxed up by this evening if everything goes to plan. Matt and Kate were by far the best choices to have down here and when we made all the final arrangements yesterday, their input was vital and concise. They seem pleased with the set-up and I hope we can get those two back to CCF with a minimal amount of stress.
Unfortunately, even with the help of a massive search party we still have nothing on Shanti. Corris and Selma covered the entire Northern part of the Reserve (SDL, Hyena Water etc,) Flo, his volunteers and my Dad all searched around Moringa, Draaihoek and Bushman Kopjes, while Matt, Kate and myself looked on the outside of the reserve, involving the farm land from here to Sesriem and then back down past Nooihof farm. This trek went on for nearly 7 hours but we still couldn’t even get a sound. At one stage Kate and I thought we had something but after an intensive check it turned out to be nothing.
Tomorrow will be a big day for her though. I’ll be going up to aerial track in the morning with the N/a’an ku sê guys but I fear that if we don’t pick anything up, then our next steps will have to be planned very carefully. I’ll be in touch as soon as we touch down though to let you all know what’s happening. Today we will try again but I want to spend some time with the boys and let Matt and Kate take a look at Ra who may be limping again. All five are together though, and he had eaten with them when I saw them on Friday so I don’t think there is any reason to be concerned.
July 16: NamibRand wild female cheetah
The female is continuing to spend her time on farmland around 12-17 km East of the NRNR. Interestingly she appears to have started returning repeatedly to the same spot (highlighted in green) and spending her nights there. Given that it’s been approximately three months since she left the reserve in heat, this may indicate that she has had a new litter of cubs.
July 21: The boys seem to be remaining in the area, although they are spending increasing amounts of time lurking around the farmhouse that is Park HQ instead of the girls pen.
Here are some of the field reports from Selma:
July 12th: Yesterday they walked up to Toskaan area, of which I believe they were hunting and they could not catch any prey therefore they came back to the pen. Today morning they hunt a sub-adult male springbok just next to the pen fence. I think they used the method of chasing the springbok in the fence in order to catch it as there was a proof of it. The prey is fully consumed, only the neck area which is not eaten.
July 13th: Our boys are doing fine although they are still moving around the pen, sooner or later they will realise that the girls are gone and start roaming away from the pen. Today afternoon as we observe them, they are moving toward Draaihoek and Toskaan. It seems like they have created a route of which they are moving between Toskaan and Keerweder pen. As usual Kia is leading the group walking in front followed by Ra, Lindt and Cadbury. Mushara stayed behind standing on the granite rock and observing the surrounding area. He then followed the others after two minutes. I think they are out hunting.
July 17th: The boys are back to Keerweder area, they were just in front of the guest house early in the morning. It will be so hard for these boys to leave Keerweder vicinity as they are used to the area, they will keep on going and coming back. The ‘stoop’ in front of the guest house has become their marking area of which in some cases they spend their night and urinate there.
I think they are out hunting as they were quite observant. According to Florian, they approached a herd of red hartebeest and chased one but they were not that serious because they only chased it for few seconds and were not that fast. They were walking toward Boscia, hopefully they successfully hunted later in the afternoon.
You can see from the attached map how they forage out, then return straight back to the same area.
July 22: NamibRand Wild Cheetah Mother whereabouts
The female has again spent almost the whole of the past week within a very small area (moving no more than 200m in any direction), but this current location is about 1 km SW of her den from last week. I have included two maps, one showing the wide picture (and the reserve boundary), and the other a close focus on her movements, still unfortunately on Zaries.
July 24: From NamibRand: Shanti is alive!
Good news to everyone, SHANTI is alive and in good health! Ann’s theory of the boys going to Toskaan occasionally because they have picked up Shanti finally comes true. After some report from Sossousvlei Desert Lodge that they have seen six cheetahs instead of five at Toskaan, Florian saw Shanti today morning when he was driving from Aandstêr on the road to Keerweder (some few metres north of the pen. First he thought it was one of the boys but after searching and saw the five boys on the other side of the road, it surprised him when he looked through the binocular and realised it was Shanti with his collar on. He tried scanning her but he did not pick up her signals which means the collar is not working. According to Florian he clearly identified her and he is sure it was Shanti. It was impossible for her to take any photo as Shanti runs away in the long grass toward the koppie northwest of Keerweder. I think she has come up with the boys last night from Toskaan. Everyone at Keerweder was so excited to hear that she is probably alive.
Once again, the boys are back to Keerweder area from Toskaan where we left them yesterday and they marked the poles and a quiver tree near the guest house last night as usual. It seems like the Jeye’s fluid (with strong smell) that we used last time to clean all the marking in the area (wall, stoep, trees and poles) did not work at all. They were lying next to one another in the river bed near the pen as it was windy and cold today.
Let’s thank the boys they have found Shanti for us. Now we know why they keep visiting Toskaan area.
NamibRand Male Cheetahs and Shanti
Behaviour patterns of the boys don’t seem to be changing significantly as yet. They continue to lurk close to the now empty pens where Rosy and Misty were, and to the farmhouse that is park HQ – regularly marking the outside of said farmhouse. Some really good news though, is that on the 24th, they were seen in company of the very much alive Shanti! Her collar has definitely stopped working, but she seems to be very healthy and is clearly looking after herself.
After some report from Sossousvlei Desert Lodge that they have seen six cheetahs instead of five at Toskaan, Florian saw Shanti today morning when he was driving from Aandstêr on the road to Keerweder (some few metres north of the pen). First he thought it was one of the boys but after searching and seeing the five boys on the other side of the road, it surprised him when he looked through the binocular and realised it was Shanti with her collar on. He tried scanning her but he did not pick up her signals which means the collar is not working. According to Florian, he clearly identified her and he is sure it was Shanti. It was impossible to take any photo as Shanti runs away in the long grass toward the koppie northwest of Keerweder. I think she has come up with the boys last night from Toskaan. Everyone at Keerweder was so excited to hear that she is probably alive.
The boys hunted around the 29th, but we were unable to confirm what, although there were a lot of oryx in the area.
July 31: NamibRand female
The female is sticking to the same area as last week, returning most nights to the same (approx. 300×250 m) area.