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Iketle, where are you?

  • September 15, 2016 | Rhulani Safari Lodge

The ambitious “cheetah project” keeps the Madikwe Administration on their toes. We have recently lost the signals from Iketle, our hopeful cheetah-female. For the moment, we can just speculate about the reasons. 

We have currently no contact to the female cheetah "Iketle"

After losing the radio signals of Iketle’s collar, Madikwe's park management decided to start e helicopter and launch a search. "Unfortunately the search that had covered over 30km East, West and South of Madikwe was unsuccessful", was the bad news at the end of the day.

The big question is: What happened to Iketle? "The search was done with the following possibilities in mind, that the cheetah might have escaped Madikwe, might have unfortunately been killed or the collar battery might be flat." Three possibilities, and all of them are indeed possible.

We remember that two months ago, Iketle succeeded to escape inexplicably from the fenced, 75,000 hectare reserve, and that with a bit of luck, she could be caught again by telemetry. Does Iketle not like this area, or is she just an outbreak specialist?

The second variant, the cheetah could not have survived a battle in the bush, also makes us worry. It brings back memories from the past when Iketle's predecessor was killed by a cheetah coalition of five males, and where we had finally only found the satellite collar.

Our hopes concentrate on the third option, and we have a good reason for being optimistic: "After this search and what we have heard from other guides and lodge employees that there had been female cheetah tracks been spotted somewhere in the East, we were convinced that Iketle might still be around Madikwe with a dead collar”, says the Madikwe management

These days, all guides are driving out each morning and hope deep inside their hearts to find Iketle somewhere. It would be a fantastic message! Madikwe Reserve has the goal to grow a stable cheetah population and hopes that we will soon see small cheetah cubs. Rhulani is a main sponsor in this project.