Female cheetahs: Christmas in the boma
45 days have passed since our two young, beautiful, female cheetahs have made the move to Madikwe. Since then, they are in a protected boma, where they spent the Christmas holidays. A status update on this exciting project.
After a long journey crossing South Africa and arriving in a completely new environment, the two female cheetahs are still in the process of adaptation, for the soon release into Madikwe Reserve. While they spent a lot of time in their square boma, we ask the question if the process of adaptation is going according to plan.
"The habituation is progressing quite slowly, but there is definite positive progress," says Carlie Esterhuizen (Field Ecologist in Madikwe) who since beginning has a leading function of this demanding project. "When I initially started with the feeding, the females were extremely skittish and I could hardly get visual." Rhulani’s manager Chris Altenkirk made similar experiences when he approached the boma fence with our guests on a game drive: “They immediately scurried into another corner of the boma, making it very difficult to even take a photo of them.”
However now there is some positive progress: "Yesterday afternoon when I went to feed the cheetahs, both females responded to the carcass and allowed me to sit with them whilst they fed at a distance of 20 meters," said Carlien about this success. "I am convinced that by the end of January we will have these females as habituated as the four male brothers." Carlien refers to the male cheetahs that were introduced into Madikwe through a similar process about 2 years ago who settled in perfectly.
Carlien says: “A big congratulations to all once again. We have at long last managed to raise enough funds to buy the satellite collars for the four cats, so the collars will be built in January.” Thus, we start the New Year with a cautious optimism and at Rhulani we look forward to participating soon in the exciting activities of collaring and releasing.
Stay connected with us and read about further updates on the project #rhulanicheetah.
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