On 18th April, CCF released a coalition of four male cheetahs into a soft release camp for them to enhance survival behaviour before being released into the wild
Day 8 of re-wilding: 25 April 2012
The ravenous males were found on the minute remains of yesterday’s oryx kill. The carcass was cleaned to the bone as the cheetahs continued crunched the rib bones. Afterwards, we collected two scat samples from Fossey and Mendel that would later be sent to our genetics lab for further analysis. Throughout the day, we followed the coalition beneath a canopy of extremely dense bush, led by the dominant Fossey. The males did not mark as they roamed across the reserve, suggesting the voyage was not territory maintenance. During the day, we noticed Mendel limping off his right front leg, as well as on Livingstone’s left front leg. We notified CCF’s vet, Gaby Flacke, and we will keep a close eye on both of these males to see if they worsen.
Day 9 & 10: 26 & 27 April 2012
The coalition was on the move again, again led by Fossey. They led us through the dense depths of Bellebenno’s game camp, occasionally marking trees along the way. They attempted several unorganized hunts on eland bulls, oryx and warthog, unfortunately coming out unsuccessful.
The following day John (a returning CCF volunteer) and I did not find the cats until 07:20, as they had moved a large distance from the previous night’s location. Upon our arrival, we witnessed an injured sub-adult female oryx running away: all four males then went on the hunt. We watched as Mendel had a less-than impressive neck-bit on the oryx, biting only a thin layer of skin on the side of the neck while Darwin started to eat the already opened hindquarters. They were hunting properly, but not killing efficiently. The gorging continued throughout the midday as all four ate themselves into a soft and sleepy food stupor.
Day 11-14: 28-1 May 2012
Within three days, the coalition found water from a broken water pipe that puddled in the road and had several unsuccessful hunting attempts. Their hunting strategies were weak as they were lacking the element of surprise. They would randomly come across a prey species along the road and then trot (almost playfully) after it in plain sight. Fossey continued to lead the other three males to water. Hopefully his leadership will direct the males towards their next meal.
Stay tuned for more updates on the re-wilding project!
All the best,
Head of Cheetah Reintroductions