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!
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