Recently, when CCF’s keepers arrived at the pen of the Four Scientists (a group of four male cheetahs named Darwin, Fossey, Livingstone and Mendel) for their daily feeding, the cats were nowhere to be seen. This was HIGHLY unusual as the eager Scientists always are waiting at the gate for the feeding truck when it arrives. Concerned about the cats, we quickly drove into the 5-ha pen and began to search for them. We found them in the middle of one of the roads, and the reason for the Scientists absence was discovered. A young female kudu (a large antelope) had made the very poor decision to jump the fence into their enclosure and had been taken down by the four males.
Bite wounds around the kudu’s neck indicated that the boys had performed an efficient kill. This is very good news, considering that the four females who were in our rewilding bootcamp, Bellebenno, were recently released to their new home in a private reserve. Given their obvious hunting skills, the Scientists could be our next candidates for soft release into the Bellebenno game camp!
CCF's rewilding process involves moving a small, same-sex group of cheetahs into Bellebenno, where they can chase and bring down game. They are fed daily and monitored closely until they are feeding themselves consistently. After three or four months, the cats are radio-collared and moved to a wild area as far from livestock as possible. They spend a few days in a small enclosure so they can become acclimated to their new area, before being released. So far all the cheetahs that have gone through the rewilding process are doing very well.
As expensive as it is to keep a cheetah in capitivity, it's very costly to rewild one. Obviously though, we'd rather the cats were living in the wild. Your support not only helps us care for those cats that cannot be returned to the wild, but it also helps put captive cheetahs back into the wild and repopulate former range areas. Thank you!
On the same day that four formerly captive cheetahs were soft-released into CCF's game park to determine if they can learn to hunt, CCF took possession of four 2-month-old cubs. The cubs arrived in a beat-up cage; they were filthy and terrified. Cubs that young still need intensive care, and these quickly blossomed at CCF. They are now healthy and getting more confident every day. Luckily the four females who were soft-released have proven to be very adept at hunting and won't have to be returned to captivity at CCF. And while these four new cubs are incredibly cute, we'd prefer they were still out in the wild with their mother. CCF now has almost 60 cheetahs in its care, and we are very grateful for everyone's support.
After CCF's successful "rewilding" of seven captive cheetahs in Namibia in 2008/2009, we're ready to do it again. Recently four long-time cheetah residents at CCF--all female--were radio-collared and released into CCF's 4,000-hectare Bellebenno game camp. The camp is fenced but has plenty of prey for the cheetahs to hunt. The cheetahs will be fed daily to ensure they have the strength to hunt. Once they've proven they can bring down prey, they'll be released into a safe, unfenced area and monitored daily. As in Bellebenno, they will be fed regularly until they are consistently bringing down game on their own. Not all captive cheetahs are good candidates for release, and CCF is home to more than 50 cats. Thank you to everyone who has donated toward their care!
In late 2008, five captive male cheetahs were reintroduced into a wild area of Namibia where cheetahs. The males were chosen because they had shown the inclination to hunt. Before reintroduction, they were housed in a large enclosure with plenty of prey species. Then they were released into the NamibRand Nature Reserve and fed daily until they consistently made their own kills. As they were collared, CCF has been able to follow their movement. All five are doing very well. Two captive females were released later. One has since given birth. And a wild female with nearly grown cubs also was released into the area. Now that CCF has developed a successful protocol for "rewilding" cheetahs, perhaps more of CCF's orphans can make their way back into the wild. Your donations are greatly appreciated!
In mid July, CCF staff received a call that a collared female cheetah was found caught in a cattle fence and had died. At the time of her death, data from her satellite collar suggested that she had a new litter of cubs. CCF staff was able to trap all four cubs, and brought them to the centre. "Mischief" had sustained an injury while in the trap cage and required sutures on the front right chest. Then his brother "Phil" sustained a shoulder injury. For this reason, these four are known affectionately as "the Scars" and, because they were orphaned so young, will live their lives at CCF.
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