Female cheetah released at Mabula

A female cheetah was released at Mabula Private Game Reserve in the Waterberg during December. This follows the successful release of two male cheetahs into the reserve early in 2012. The two brothers have been studied extensively to determine whether they would adapt to their new home and to what extent they were impacting on their prey species.

According to the Mabula management, sourcing a female cheetah was difficult because most reserves introduce male coalitions first and therefore, do not breed from the beginning. “Through our commitment to aiding in cheetah conservation nationally, and by joining hands with the EWT (Endangered Wildlife Trust), we were earmarked as a priority destination for the first cheetah female that became available,” the reserve said in a statement.

The long-term plan is to allow this female to have young and rear them in the wild. The cubs will then be put up for adoption by other reserves to secure the growth of the cheetah population on privately owned land.

Details about cheetah:

  • The cheetah is the world’s fastest land mammal. This helps them to run after and grab their prey like antelopes.
  • Cheetahs are found in open and partially open savannas. This helps them to clearly view their prey in distance and run for them.
  • Cheetah mothers spend a long time teaching their young how to hunt small live antelopes are brought back to the cubs and released so they can chase and catch them. Unlike most other cats, the cheetah usually hunts during daylight, preferring early morning or early evening, but is also active on moonlit nights.
  • Once a cheetah has made a kill, it eats quickly and keeps an eye out for scavengers lions, leopards, hyenas, vultures and jackals will occasionally take away their kills.
  • With a life span of 10 to 12 years, the cheetah is basically a solitary animal. At times a male will accompany a female for a short while after mating, but most often the female is alone or with her cubs. Two to four cubs are born in a secluded place.
  • A shy creature that roams widely, the cheetah is not seen as easily as some other cats. Never numerous, cheetahs have become extinct in many areas, principally due to shrinking habitat, loss of species to prey upon, disease and a high rate of cub mortality. In some areas 50 to 75 percent of all cheetah cubs die before 3 months.