Sunday, 11 March 2012

New Arrivals: Laura and Cubs

The NCCC have welcomed three more cheetahs into the soft release holding camp to begin their environmental adjustment period in view for possible release at a later stage.

The three cats in question are an eight-year-old female named ‘Laura’ and her two 24-month-old female cubs ‘Sandy’ and ‘Rusty’. Laura was trapped on a hunting farm in the Otjiwarongo area over two years ago along with her young cubs. N/a’an ku se were called and the cheetah family was taken to N/a’an ku se’s Wildlife Sanctuary.

The start of the NCCC last June has now presented us with the chance to possibly release this family back to the wild or at the very least provided them with extremely large new home. 

Upon their arrival Laura and her cubs were taken straight to the 500ha soft release camp where we document their daily movements via tracking collars. In this case it was important that each individual was fitted with a collar as it can be expected that the cubs will soon split from their mother.

For the first night, the cats were left in our small holding pen to adjust to their new environment. By the next morning the cats were ready for their first meal, a large tasty zebra leg. This ensured they had some energy to begin exploring their new home. 

Since that day the family has continued to stay together and they have been found in all sections of the pen. Also, Laura has already made her first kill, a jackal.

However, a year and a half in captivity have left their marks and they often approach the tracking vehicle in anticipation of food. We will continue to observe the family and see if his type of behaviour can be reduced, as a high level of habituation can be very problematic for their suitability for release. We will of course keep you updated on our new family’s progress.

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