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Thursday, 26 May 2011

Three New Cubs at CCF

CCF received a call from a farmer near Otjiwarongo who said he had shot two cheetahs in his goat kraal while they were attacking his livestock. The cheetahs had killed two goats and two sheep in the attack; to protect his livelihood, the farmer shot the mother and one cub, with three other cubs escaping. Fortunately he knew about CCF and called us to ask if we would be interested in collecting the bodies.

(Note from Patricia - The cheetah is a protected species in Namibia, but people are allowed to remove cheetahs if they pose a threat to livestock or human life. CCF welcomes calls from farmers that have predator issues, as this gives us an opportunity to start a dialogue. Many of them have become allies in our efforts to conserve the wild cheetah once they learn about the many ways in which they can prevent conflict with predators.)

When the CCF arrived at the farm to collect the bodies, the farmer was asked if he would help with trying to trap the surviving cubs, whom he could hear chirping at night. As he did not have a cage trap, we brought one to the farm the next day.

One of the two female cubs captures near Otjiwarongo. (c) Cheetah Conservation Fund, 2011
It took several days before the three cubs were caught, with the farmer helping by moving the trap according to the direction from which he heard them calling around his farm. By the afternoon of the 17th of May he had all three and called us to fetch them. The medical workups were conducted the same evening – two females and one male; they were dehydrated and thin but otherwise fine. Their estimated age is 6-8 months old. After a thorough examination, the cubs were temporarily placed in a quarantine pen and later moved to an enclosure in Bellebenno.
The male cub. (c) Cheetah Conservation Fund, 2011
The dead female cheetah had a badly broken back leg (the bone was sticking through the skin) and had evidently been struggling to provide for her four cubs, hence becoming a problem animal. The dead cub was a male and was thin but otherwise in reasonable condition.

The CCF team gave the farmer education materials on cheetahs and livestock guarding dogs and a dog application form which he has already filled out and is now on CCF's waiting list. As with all farmers in similar situations, the farmer was encouraged to contact us upon future cheetah sightings before taking drastic actions.

Gail Potgieter


  1. Jacqueline Barrington1:13 am

    So glad CCF was able to save the remaining three cubs!

  2. Wow, so many issues involved. Thank you for your patience and willingness to open dialogue with the farmers. What a help he turned out to be with locating the remaining cubs; I suppose it's a better ending than starving with a badly hurt mother.

  3. So fortunate to have CCF on thie earth. Sad sad story but a somewhat good ending for the 3 cubs. Being 6-8 months, is there a good chance they will be rewilded some day? Seems at that age they may have been starting to learn to hunt. I so long to come back to CCF and assit with activities such as this. Plan to some day soon. Best to Laurie & all. Patty Hooks Kuun

  4. Jami H7:58 pm

    Oh my heart breaks for what that momma cheetah had been going through trying to provide for her cubs. I'm glad she's not in pain any more and 3 of her 4 cubs will get a chance at life that she may not have been able to provide. Such a bittersweet story. Thank you Farmer and thank you CCF.

  5. Hi Patty, these cubs would have stayed with their mother at least 10 more months in order to learn everything they need to live in the wild. In addition to hunting, cheetah mothers teach their cubs the social skills needed to deal with their environment. Whether or not they will be candidates for re-wilding depends on many factors. This is why our re-wilding research is so important. Hope to see you at CCF soon!