When will we see cheetah cubs in Madikwe?
The question of when we will see small, cute cheetah cubs for the very first time in our park seems to be more justified than ever. For many years, with Rhulani Safari Lodge's support, the reserve has been investing considerable financial resources and efforts in the ambitious project of reproducing this susceptible animal in the wild, so far with no success. But now the hopes are great.
The many failed attempts in the past did not give hope that it could work this time. For these elegant big cats survival in a Big5 reserve is a challenge. All female cheetahs released in the reserve in the past suffered a fate even before they even met one of the males. They died of an illness, were killed by other predators, or found a way out of the park and were never seen again.
Recently, however, the female cheetahs have become more established. Just a few weeks ago, one of the females was seen on a “honeymoon”, and as we know today, she also became pregnant, which was disovered by chance. She had to be treated for leg injury, where it was discovered that she was pregnant with a litter of four boys, but aborted.
Two weeks ago, we went out on game drive with our guests and found the "Phinda Male" coalition resting comfortably in the shade of a bush in the southwest of the park, not far from our lodge. To our astonishment, the brothers were in company with a five year old cheetah female that was born in Welgevonden and not long ago found the way to us from Sterkfontein. Never before had we been able to observe a female so relaxed in the reserve, and certainly not in company with the male counterparts.
While we were looking at these beautiful animals, we had no doubt that there was more going on than just resting in the shade. The prospects that the female will get pregnant and that the pregnancy will be successful this time are excellent. This female had given birth in the past, and she is used to the life in a Big5 reserve, so she is predator aware.
Please keep your fingers crossed for us and the cheetahs! We will keep you up to date.
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