Updates on Released Cheetahs in Erindi Private Game Reserve
- by Eli Walker November 25, 2019
Kamin and Elwood
Sadly, in early September 2019 Elwood was found dead and Kamin severely injured. Based on the injuries and signs from the area, it seems that they were attacked by lions and while Elwood was killed almost immediately, Kamin managed to escape and survive. Based on their GPS collar data, it seems the two males were walking through a relatively thick area of bush and stumbled into the lionesses in the very early morning.
CCF’s team travelled to Erindi to check on Kamin and to assess and treat his injuries. Kamin was covered in puncture wounds from bites, consistent with the initial assessment of the event. Many of the wounds were very infected, but luckily all of his vital organs were fully intact and there was no sign of any broken bones. He was treated by CCF’s veterinarian and then the team moved him into a holding boma for recovery. With the severity of his injuries, Kamin would not have been able to run away from any other dangerous predator and therefore recovery in the boma was a much safer and secure option for him.
After about a month and a half in the boma, Kamin has made an incredible and complete recovery and in early November was released from his holding boma. The following week, he was darted again by CCF’s team to change a collar and the only remaining sign of his injuries from the lion attack was some slight scarring. In the afternoon of this collar change procedure, Kamin made a successful kill on his own. Despite the loss of his last remaining coalition mate, we have very high hopes for Kamin’s success on his own in Erindi.
From the middle of 2019, Miers began to struggle to hunt and started to once again require supplemental feeding from Erindi’s monitoring team. We began to keep a closer eye on Miers and noticed that he would go up in down in regards to his hunting success. Somedays he would be found doing well and others not so well. At one point, Miers was found with some superficial puncture wounds making it appear as if he had been in a fight with another predator. After this point, Miers again began to improve in his hunting attempts and seemed to be on the mend.
However, in early November he was found in a very bad state and had many more fresh wounds. Based on his GPS collar data and from animal sightings within the reserver, it seems that Miers had been fighting with a coalition of two male cheetahs over the area in Erindi known as Vlei. Though Miers is a very large and impressive male cheetah, in this case he clearly did not fair well on his own against this other male coalition.
Following this attack, CCF’s team darted Miers so that the veterinarian could treat his wounds. Upon closer examination, his wounds are consistent with our assumption that he was fighting other males. Additionally, the veterinarian found that he had broken his back right foot at some point, but that it had now healed fully. This broken foot is likely the reason behind his starting to struggle to hunt successfully earlier in the year.
After his treatment, Mier’s was also moved to a holding boma to ensure he’s fully recovered before being released again. Despite his injuries, we believe that he will make a full recovery and are planning to release him towards the end of the year.
Daenerys, Georgia, and Tatjana
Daenerys is still living solo in the south western part of Erindi. She still requires supplemental feeding from time to time, but the frequency of these feedings has started to decline, indicating that she is starting to hunt successfully on her own. Daenerys has become comfortable in this area of the reserve and doesn’t often venture far from her newly established home-range. While she’s had a slow start, we believe that she’s well on her way to complete independence within Erindi.
Georgia and Tatjana are still living together in the northern area of the reserve and have become favorites amongst Erindi staff. Often referred to by Erindi staff as ‘G&T’, the females seem to be very happy living together in this female coalition, even though female coalitions do not occur normally in the wild. Similar to Daenerys, Georgia and Tatjana have required less frequent supplemental feeding and we also have high hopes for them reaching independence within Erindi.
Savanna and her two surviving male cubs are still performing exceptionally well with Erindi. This family has never required assistance from humans, and the two male cubs are fast approaching the time when they will leave their mother and venture out on their own within Erindi.
In the wild, male cheetahs will form a coalition with their brother(s). By remaining together for life, male cheetahs improve their chances of survival because it’s always better to have more sets of eyes and ears watching out for danger when living in an area with other dangerous predators in abundance. Additionally, males will collaborate on hunts thereby maximizing their chances of making a successful kill.
Though cheetahs are never safe from the dangers of a wild life, we have extremely high hopes for these two males and are very much looking forward to seeing how they do once they leave their mother.
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