The day has finally come. The boys moved far enough away today and not wanting to wait any longer, I let Tisha and Shanti out. Well, to be precise they let themselves out. After a morning of checking and double checking that the boys wouldn’t come back, I cut the fence at around 14:00 on 24th May.
Paul and I waited up on the hill in the pen and Abraham, Paul #2 and Willem waited by the feeding site. We all hoped to see the girls run off into the sunset. So we waited and waited. And the others went home and Paul and I waited and waited but to no avail. At one stage I finally saw Shanti but she was watching us, and we were fairly well concealed I thought. Once we moved again behind some rocks, she was still watching us. Finally, after wedging down in to a crevice and not moving for about an hour, she walked over towards the small pan there, but just sat down. Just before the light went completely she moved down to where I think Tisha was resting but they never went for the food.
So, I rushed home and got the night vision goggles and went back out to try again. The problem is, it was a New Moon and pitch black out there. You need to be within 300m to see with the goggles so there was no hope. I left them to leave on their own and came back about an hour later to check up on them.
They’re free!!!!! They’ve left, and taken the meat which I left for them which I’m very pleased with (it was an extra larger portion, probably 4-5kgs each just in case…)
Now, they’ve gone off in different directions but where still very close. They’re probably still eating so I’m not unconvinced they won’t meet up again afterwards to head further out into the wild. I left them soon after as I didn’t want to scare them off their food.
Tomorrow will be a long day; I’ll be starting before it gets light so we have as much time as possible to track them and the boys…
Ok, off to bed. Thanks to everyone for their help and let’s see where these crazy girls drag me. Story of my life actually. Hmm. Later
NamibRand Nature Reserve
Cheetah Re-introduction Programme