Following the removal of the “Scientists” male coalition of cheetahs from the Bellebenno training camp earlier this month, Friday the 25th of May was an exciting day at CCF: yet another cheetah re-wilding was initiated! CCF’s staff transferred Padme (5-year-old female) and Bella (4-year-old female) from their normal enclosure to be released into the camp for the first stage of their re-wilding process.
Whilst here, the two females will face all the environmental factors they would in the wild and will therefore gain all of the necessary skills for survival in the wild. In captivity, Padme and Bella relied upon CCF’s cheetah keepers for food and water, but in the Bellebenno training camp they will learn to find water and make kills on their own. Though they are now acting on their own accord, CCF’s experienced staff are monitoring them daily to track their development and to ensure their well being.
This first step is crucial in the re-wilding process as the cheetahs are essentially learning how to be wild cheetahs. We never know how long they will need in the Bellebenno training camp to gain these skills, but we will keep you posted on their progress. Padme’s brother Obi-wan is a member of the group of males that were re-wilded late last year, so Padme is now following in her brother’s paw-steps and hopefully some day soon they will both enjoy a life of freedom in the wild.
CCF Student Intern
Photos copyright © Cheetah Conservation Fund 2012