Cheetah darting and relocation

May 2020

Cheetah Conservation during lockdown

Cheetah mum and cubs

Cheetah Mum and cubs - image by Esther Currie

 

Even though we are in lockdown conservation does not stop.  This week the Amakhosi Team headed by Alwyn Wentzel reserve general manager along with EWT (Endangered Wildlife Trust) headed out into the Amakhosi Reserve in search of 3 of our cheetah.

The mission was to dart the adult female with her two 18month old cubs, the cubs (1 male and 1 female) are reaching an age where they become independent of their mother, so we decided it was time and we needed to capture and relocate the young male to another game reserve the reserve chosen by the EWT was Dinokeng GR in Gauteng.  All 3 cheetah were darted by our vet Dr Mike Toft , then the work began to re-collar and genetically sample the mother and her female cub for effective monitoring.  Amakhosi is part of the EWT Cheetah Meta Population Management Plan managed by Mr Vincent vd. Merwe and he ensures that there is a healthy exchange of cheetah genetics between game reserves across South Africa and beyond.  Cheetahs are by far the most endangered big cat in Africa and its critical to manage their genetics to ensure that inbreeding and genetic diseases don’t affect them more than it has already. Our young male will hopefully settle in and contribute to the population in Dinokeng, The EWT program will also replace the male we donated with another young male towards the end of the year.  

Cheetah darting

The EWT  purpose is to boldly prevent carnivore extinction in southern Africa. - this is their statement 
Carnivores are one of the most charismatic yet threatened orders and require innovative strategies to ensure their survival. We boldly implement large-scale, collaborative, field-based projects to increase the range, numbers and status of Africa’s threatened carnivores. We achieve this by re-establishing, maintaining and expanding safe space for carnivores, actively reducing threats to carnivore survival and persistence, ensuring positive changes in human-based values to carnivores, and supporting legislation to protect carnivores. We should, we can, we do save carnivores.

We achieve this through the following projects:

• Growing Packs and Spots
• Conserving Kruger’s Carnivores Project
• Preserving Free-roaming Carnivores
• Empowering Communities to Conserve South Africa’s Threatened Wildlife
• Carnivore Genetic Health and Diversity
• Restoring Malawi’s Large Carnivore Guild

Target species:

• African Wild Dog
• Cheetah
• Lion
• Leopard
• Spotted Hyaena

EWT to learn more of what EWT to go to their page https://www.ewt.org.za

All the best stay safe The Amakhosi Team