Release Candidate Cheetah Updates
- by Eli Walker August 3, 2018
3 males (Cyclone, Kamin, Elwood)
On 18 March 2018, our three male release candidates were released from their enclosure onto CCF property. Upon release, the three males were fed an entire red hartebeest carcass just outside the gates of the enclosure to give them one last guaranteed meal before having to rely more on themselves out in the wild. The three males stayed at the carcass for a couple of days before venturing away from their enclosure. The males began exploring around CCF farms Elandsvreugde and Osonanga while CCF’s monitoring team kept close watch over what they were up to. For the first week or so of release, the boys were not successful in making a significant kill (as far as we are aware), so CCF’s monitoring team were able to supplement feed them during monitoring sessions. However, the team did find evidence that they had been hunting, which is a great sign.
One evening however, the males got separated for one reason or another. CCF does not know precisely the reason why but it could have been that they got split up during a long hunt. CCF waited for about a week hoping that the males would find each other, but unfortunately it seemed as if they were not going to be able to find one another so the decision was made to recapture all three of them and join them back together. The capture of all three males went very smoothly and they were reunited back in their enclosure at CCF.
One week later, the males were released in the same fashion as the previous release from their enclosure. They remained together and based upon their collar data, it is clear that they began making successful kills. However, about two weeks after their second release, the monitoring team became concerned with the data arriving from the collars. It seemed that one or two of the males had been caught in a trap cage. Luckily, CCF received permission from a neighbor and travelled to the cheetahs’ location. Two of the males were indeed caught in a trap, so CCF captured the third and transferred all three once again back to their enclosure at CCF. All three males are currently residing in their enclosure at CCF. A plan is being worked on for their release again soon.
4 females (Georgia, Susan, Daenarys, Tatjana)
The four sisters (all related to Elwood in the group of three males) are still living in their enclosure at CCF. CCF’s release team is searching for a suitable release site for these four sisters and once an appropriate site has been found, CCF will begin the release process. Finding suitable release sites within Namibia is one of the most difficult aspects of cheetah releases as there are so many factors that must be considered during site selection. The area must have suitable prey populations, water and cover access, and surrounding communities must be on board with the release efforts. Working closely with the people who live and work within the areas cheetahs are living/released is critical for the success of any release efforts.
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