In the middle of June, a tiny little cheetah cub was born to Bellini, one of the wild cheetah females at Samara. However, none of Bellini’s cubs had survived before, so it was understandable that she decided to hide her new cub under a bush very close to Samara’s Karoo Lodge, where she knew that humans would find her.
Whilst normal policy at Samara is to leave nature to its own devices, the staff at Karoo Lodge felt their hearts melting, as she mewed with hunger as her mother had abandoned her, and agreed to take her into their homes, feeding her every one and a half hours through day and night. They named her Nala, meaning ‘hope’ and now at six weeks old, she appears to be thriving.
Cheetah fossils go back some two to five million years, putting them in the Pliocene Era. They have a history of close associations with humankind and were trained by man for hunting as long ago as 3,000 BC. However, in the early 1970s, conservationists reported that the cheetah was slipping towards extinction, together with some other species of wild animals in Africa, mainly due to the destruction of their habitat as a result of farming practices. Attempts to ensure the survival of the cheetah developed spontaneously into two broad fields of activity: one to conserve the free-ranging population and the other to breed cheetahs in captivity. Samara’s main objective is the former.
Sarah Tompkins, owner of the Samara Private Game Reserve alongside husband Mark explains: “Only one in five cheetah cubs are female, so we felt it extremely important to protect her. When she is old enough, she will be rehabilitated and released back into the wild to lead what we hope will be a long and productive life. Cheetahs are an endangered species and much of the conservation work here at Samara aims to build their numbers so that these magnificent creatures can be released again into the wild and reign again in the Great Karoo of South Africa.”
If little Nala survives and you would like to be part of her life going forward, email Sarah at [email protected]
Note to Editors
Photos Rob Bruyns, Samara Private Game Reserve
For further information about Samara, visit www.samara.co.za
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