It is CCF’s primary mission to conserve the cheetah in the wild and one of our biggest successes over the years has been to persuade farmers who view cheetahs as a threat to their livestock not to shoot but instead capture them for us to collect and re-release.
This is an update on those cheetahs we have been monitoring through radio and GPS collars as well as all the cheetahs that CCF have been able to successfully re-release back into the wild in 2009.
In the first six months of 2009, 7 (3M, 4F) cheetahs were released into NamibRand Nature Reserve; AJU-1350M’s collar was removed, then re-released, AJU-1576F was fitted with a GPS collar (previously fitted on AJU-1350M) and released with her 3 cubs (AJU-1574M, 1575M, and 1577F), females AJU-1506 and 1507 were also collared before release; AJU-1507 was fitted with a GPS collar and AJU-1506 was fitted with a radio collar.
In the last six months of 2009, 5 (3M, 2F) were released on CCF property after health exams were performed. In early August, traps were placed around CCF farm Elandsvreugde in order to place a GPS collar on AJU-1543, one of 2 male ‘resident’ wild cheetahs. Both AJU-1542 and 1543 were trapped, examined, sperm collected; a collar was placed on 1543, and they were then released back onto Elandsvreugde. Both cheetahs are still regular visitors to the CCF centre and still enjoy flirting with our captive females.
During mid-November, CCF staff received a call from the Hochfeld region regarding a mother and two cubs that had been seen consuming a calf. Once all three had been captured and examined, CCF was able to determine why they had been actively hunting livestock. The mother (AJU 1585) was an older cat, age estimated at 10 years, with a broken toe, and poor teeth. All three were in poor condition upon arrival, alluding that the mother had been injured prior to being caught in the trap cage. CCF held them for three weeks while the mother recovered from surgery; her broken toe had been amputated by visiting Windhoek vet Dr. Minty Soni, and dental work with Otjiwarongo dentist Dr. Profitt. During that time mother and cubs’ condition improved greatly, and they were released on CCF property.
By the end of December 2009, CCF had released a total of 12 (6M, 6F) wild cheetahs.
In early July, CCF retrieved two female cheetahs (AJU-1340 Misty and AJU-1355 Rosy) that were unable to be released in NamibRand due to health related issues. The two females have hence returned to their original 64ha pen, Bellebenno.
In mid July, CCF staff received a call that AJU 1555, a collared female, was found caught in a cattle fence in Okahandja and died due to extensive damage to her abdomen caused by the fence. At the time of her death, data from her satellite collar implied that she had a new litter of cubs. The farmer confirmed that he and his staff had seen four very young cubs near the fence where she had been caught. CCF staff was able to trap all four cubs, and brought them to the centre for exams. During these exams, CCF staff was able to acquire blood and place transponders in three of the cubs (AJU-1580M Tony, AJU-1582F Polly, and AJU-1583M Phil) without anaesthesia. AJU-1581M Mischief had sustained an injury while in the trap cage, and required anaesthesia to suture an open wound on the front right chest. The wound has hence healed as did his sibling AJU-1583M Phil’s shoulder injury that occurred after one month in captivity. The care of all four cubs is under the supervision of LSGD programme leader Gail Potgieter.
In 2009, CCF loaned 2 female cheetahs to NamibRand. NamibRand currently has 6 (5M, 1F) cheetahs on loan from CCF and have hence been released into the reserve. One female (AJU-1507) was found dead shortly after her release, suspected victim of a spotted hyena attack.
Successful releases of captive cheetahs and relocation of wild cheetahs are only made possible because of the dedicated efforts of CCF’s staff and your support for which everyone at CCF would like to say a huge thank you. Without such generous support the survival of the cheetah would just not be possible.