Cheetah, Conservation, Wildlife

New Spotted Genes  

A coalition of male cheetah arrived on Manyoni at the end of January from a game reserve in Limpopo and were successfully released into the holding boma. It is common practice to introduce predators into holding bomas to allow them the chance to acclimatise to their new environment before being released into the park. The area they came from is a newly fenced reserve and many of the cheetah there are former free roamers that have little to no experience with humans. The older male is a 3.5 year old adult that has been bonded with a 20-month-old sub-adult male. Bonding male cheetah is done by introducing two unrelated males together in a holding boma with a dividing fence to prevent initial fighting etc. Over the course of a few weeks, they will start to become accustomed to the other’s presence, the dividing fence is then removed and eventually the goal is to get them to feed on the same carcass. Another indicator of bonding success is whether they spend time together resting and patrolling the boma in unity. Reserves often bond single male cheetah in order to give them a greater chance at survival and to increase the chances of them successfully spreading their genetics and mating with females. In the first few weeks of their arrival to Manyoni they were extremely wary of humans and vehicles and trying to monitor them even in a controlled environment was very difficult. It is important that they become comfortable with vehicle presence to some degree so that they can be monitored post-release into the park. Because these males were bonded we kept them in the boma for a few weeks longer than normal to ensure they exhibited the necessary signs of a successful bond. On the 23rd of April, we were finally able to release the two cheetah from the boma into the park, we hope that they integrate into the population successfully and father the next generation of cubs on Manyoni.

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