Finally: Cheetah female dates the cheetah males
What spectacular news in the middle of the quiet winter time. During a recent game drive with our guests, surprisingly we found one of the cheetah females, as she was just having a rendezvous with the two males of the so called "Phinda Coalition". "Finally," one is tempted to say. We waited a long time for this moment!
As sponsors of this project, often we are asked, what happened to the three female cheetahs that were released in the Madikwe Game Reserve at the beginning of the year. We know that all three are doing well, they are exploring the 75,000 hectares of their new homeland, and they are capable of hunting and killing their prey.
After many failed attempts to establish cheetah females in the park, these are good news. We know that one female is roaming alone, and the other two are still together.
"I could hardly believe it when we were told there were three cheetahs sighted in the north of the park," says Alasdair, ranger at Rhulani. He and his colleague Sean drove immediately with our guests in the direction, and wanted to have a look. Three cheetahs? Impossible. We know there are two male coalitions of two brothers each.
After a bit of searching and tracking, we could not believe our eyes. In fact, there was one of our hopeful female cheetahs along with the two brothers from the so called “Phinda Coalition”. Since the release, we were hoping that they would get closer. That was five months ago. Now it was the first time we officially witnessed it.
“You could see that the elegant cats needed time to get used to each other”, tells Alasdair. The female had probably never been in contact with males. “She defended herself well, and you will also see on the video that she gave one male a nice smack. It was so beautiful.”
Perhaps the act of self-defense was only the first act of a mating ritual. There has never been a cheetah birth in the history of the reserve. We have never been so close!
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