Madikwe has not had cheetah roaming the plains for about 3 years until the release of 2 males which came from the Kwandwe Game Reserve in the eastern cape. They were put into a holding boma for an introductory period where they would get used to the sights and sounds of vehicles moving around them, and also gave them the opportunity to tune in to the animal movements around them. A month or so later another coalition of 4 males arrived and were put into a boma in the south to go through the same process.
So…. you are probably thinking, why did it take so long?
Well besides the fact that cheetah populations in the wild are under severe threat by habitat destruction and relentless persecution by farmers, there are very few ” lion aware” cheetahs available. “Lion aware ” cheetahs have to come from game reserves or parks where they have been introduced, or born in lion and other big predator areas. This gives them a better chance of survival, as they will know how to deal with the stronger predators and evade them when necessary.
Madikwe now boasts the “Magnificent 7” once more !
That is… the Big 5 plus Cheetah and Wild Dog, and being able to spend time with these animals on a regular basis really puts us in one of the best places in the world to photograph all these amazing creatures. Now, just photographing these animals wouldn’t be half the fun if it was not for us having to track them down. It is an extremely rewarding experience to find these animals after a long tracking session, and then being able to share your knowledge with the guests and seeing their ecstatic expressions as their shutters go wild on their cameras. Cheetah are probably my most favorite animal to follow and photograph, as their eyes just have some soft as well as evil shades in them, and depending on their mood can astonish you with their speed and agility as they tear off after an impala at just short of 100km/h !
So, you will probably be seeing and hearing a lot more about these underdogs in Madikwe, and hopefully we can find a female for them in the future to bring the species full circle by preserving them for our future generations.
Until next time,