Not too long ago lion fever took over Amakhosi with the arrival of our five beautiful lion cubs. I am delighted to announce their mother is doing a splendid job and that they are all still alive and well. However, there is a new “buzz” around the lodge and I dare say the lions will have to take the back seat for a while thanks to these four. Not even Ranger Rowan’s mystical beard or the Biceps of Ranger Pierre can hold a candle to this. We have cheetah cubs!
They are close to 3 months old and so far have managed to escape the dangers surrounding them on a daily basis thanks to the hard work from mom. She has been hiding them brilliantly and has only recently started bringing them out for us to enjoy. They will be her responsibility for 18 months after which they will reach independence and start fending for themselves. She still has a long way to go through and a lot to teach them before then. We are looking forward to following their journey and wish her all the best!
Not only are we excited about these cubs with regards to sightings, but one has to remember that cheetah numbers in the wild are lower than most people realize. They are the most threatened carnivore after the African Wild Dog. It makes these cubs extremely valuable in terms of conservation. Cheetahs use to roam the entire continent except for the Congo basin, their range was also bigger extending into Asia. Their numbers have however dropped dramatically due to habitat loss, conflict with humans as well as the illegal wildlife trade. Today they are only found in 9% of their historic range. An estimated 100 000 cheetahs roamed the wild during the 1800s. Just 7100 is said to remain in the wild today with a further decline in numbers of just over 50% suggested over the next 10 years.
In the end, I can give depressing facts all day long, but the message that I am trying to get across is that these four cubs are more special than most of our guests will ever realize. Having them on the reserve is a massive blessing!
Looking forward to sharing many more videos, photos, and information on these youngsters with you in the coming months.