Resident Cheetahs

Daenerys and Khaleesi of the “Great Grass Sea”

  • by Ana Basto September 16, 2021
Daenerys and Khaleesi of the “Great Grass Sea”
Dr. Marker leads the veterinary team in performing a workup on Daenarys

Since February, CCF vets have been busy with an interesting and challenging case, as many have seen via social media updates, our cheetah Daenerys went through quite a lot in her past months, but she is now in her path to recovery.

Daenerys came to CCF as a cub in 2016, and was successfully rehabilitated and released into Erindi Private Game Reserve. Natural Habitat Adventures helped to fund the GPS collars used to monitor her movements post-release. During the pandemic lockdown, CCF’s staff noticed an issue with her movements via GPS. Erindi’s staff went to investigate and a Guide spotted her limping. She had broken her fibula and dislocated her tibia-tarsus articulation, with all her ankle ligaments getting ruptured. This was a potentially life threatening injury that meant Daenerys needed to be recaptured. She could not remain out in the wild and successfully survive on her own.

Once we got her back to CCF’s Centre we discovered that she was also pregnant! This made the decision to pull her from Erindi even more critical. It was not just Daenerys’ life on the line but a new generation of cheetahs.

Daenarys in her workup
Taking an x-ray of Daenarys' leg

After three long surgeries, Daenerys was finally set on the way to recovery and we placed an external fixator, which is a series of metal pins that are attached to the bone through incisions into the skin. She had the surgical wound cleaned weekly at the time, and she will keep the fixator until the end of 2021. Once her joint heals completely the pins can be removed.

Daenarys after her workup

As she recovered, we initially restricted her movement but now she is in a larger enclosure where she can walk and get a bit of exercise. She is doing fine and putting weight on her leg when walking. CCF’s vet team and Cheetah Keepers work on her on a monthly basis, to x-ray and evaluate her healing. We need to monitor her joints and see how her muscles are rebuilding.

Khaleesi (her cub seen below) was born during the recovery period and due to the nature of Daenerys’s injuries CCF staff stepped in and now Khaleesi is being hand raised. Khaleesi is available to sponsor.

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