October 5: The male have visited the guesthouse today morning and according to Ann they were marking (spraying/ urinating) around the house. It has been a while since they last visited the house (three weeks) and it seems like they are back again. She shouted at them to scare them off and they run away. Ra seems to have a limp again, he was seen limping and on his own without the rest of the group on Saturday by Ann and Mike Scott near the cheetah pen. As I observed him today he was still limping, he was walking in a normal way in the morning but late in the afternoon, I noticed that he was limping. He seems to be walking well and start limping for several minutes. The limping is not that bad but he walks behind others and they seem to be stopping for several times to wait for him.
I was able to observe them for several hours today in the morning and in the afternoon. They haven’t been up to something (hunting) although their stomachs look almost empty or maybe it is because there was not much game in their way. They have tried stalking the hartebeest herd late in the afternoon but they were unsuccessful, the hartebeest became aware of their presence and ran away. We left them walking toward Keerweder waterhole, just shortly after the sun set. I reckon they will hunt tonight or early tomorrow morning.
October 17: It has been a long day looking for the five males. We received a report that someone had seen the five cheetahs along the C27 road south of the Reserve last night next to the Tok Tokkie & NaDEET gate. We searched around Keerweder for the radio signals today morning and we could not find them. We went tracking up to the area were they were seen, further on the main road to Maltahöhe but we could not find spoors nor signals. I decided to come back since I could not get any signals and search on the northern part of the Reserve which was Draaihoek side.
After a long search, we got our signals near Porcupine waterhole. I did not expect it since I thought it was too far south where they were seen last night. We walked up the hill away from the road for good sighting and we saw one of them sitting up in the Acacia tree looking at us and observing the surrounding area. The others were lying down undisturbed (raised their heads up and went back), he lied back after several minutes and that was the last sighting for them.
I have no idea if it was the boys that someone saw last night (around 20h00), as we could not find any tracks in the area. If it was our five males, then this means they have walked over ~40 km from where they were seen to where we found them in one night (last night).
October 18 – 20: Not much information for the boys, but they are still doing well and still moving in the same area. These past few days they have not been at Wolwedans side (zebra dam); they tend to be moving between Draaihoek and Keerweder. I have not been able to confirm if it was them that were seen on the Southern part of the Reserve (outside the reserve border) on Friday night but I have sent an email to the Toktokkie manager with few questions for confirmation.
October 20: As some of you will be aware, there was a sighting of a group of cheetahs south of NRNR on October 16th. Unfortunately we do not have any satellite data from that time, but as you can see from the wide area map that I’ve included (with the approximate location of the sighting marked), it seems unlikely that it was our group.
On the regular map I have again distinguished between visual and satellite points with the latter in yellow.
Selma, tracking in the field, has the following to report: They are still doing well and still moving in the same area. These past few days they have not been at Wolwedans side (zebra dam); they tend to be moving between Draaihoek and Keerweder. On Tuesday they we saw them walking toward Ysterkop from Bushman koppie side. Mushara in front followed by Lindt, Cadbury, Ra and Kia at the back. They don’t look full nor empty but I reckon they are out hunting.