The Madikwe Game Reserve’s five male cheetahs finally have a female companion, following the capture of a cheetah in the wild adjacent to the reserve.
Unfortunately, they will not enjoy the pleasure of her company for long – she is to be relocated to another reserve, with a view to using her for breeding purposes.
The cheetah was captured on 8 January, after she had been spotted patrolling inside the double fence north of Madikwe’s Molatedi gate. Provincial conservation authorities authorised her capture after local farmers threatened to shoot her on sight.
“We requested to have the cheetah released into the game reserve as we only have five male cheetah, that were released more than a year ago. The prospect of having at least one female was exciting, as engaging with numerous institutions to get female cheetah for the reserve have been unsuccessful to date,” says Peter Leitner of Madikwe.
The captured female has been released into Madikwe’s bomas for habituation, collaring and veterinary work. But her stay, it has turned out, will be a temporary one.
“It has come to our attention that the Department of Economic Development Environment Conservation and Tourism has decided to send the captured cheetah to a different environment where she can breed, and that the offspring will be returned to the North West Parks, including Madikwe Game Reserve and Pilanesberg Game Reserve.
“We are sad to see our bachelor cheetah remain as such but understand the logic of such a move in the interest of higher breeding success for these endangered animals,” says Leitner.
Rietvlei Nature Reserve outside Pretoria is being investigated by the department as one of the possible sites for her to be released, as there is ample game.
“We are currently still looking after the female cheetah. She is feeding well and being habituated to our field ecologist’s vehicle during feeding time. This will aid in the recapture of the cheetah and further management at her new destination.
“The cheetah will be ready to be captured and relocated to her new home in a few weeks.