Good news for big cats: new litter of cheetah cubs born on Amakhala Game Reserve.
Amakhala Game Reserve (AGR) had reason to celebrate recently after a resident female cheetah emerged from the thickets on the reserve with three healthy cheetah cubs in tow! The little ones were seen out and about this week for the first time after an extended period of being hidden away by their mother in a densely-vegetated den site.
AGR ecologist, Natalie Fowler, explains: “We were confident the female was denning as she kept going back to the same valley and only leaving it to hunt. We predicted she would bring cubs out roughly 6 weeks after the start of this. Just a few days ago, she has brought three healthy, adorable cubs out.”
Donated by Ashia Cheetah Conservation (ACC), this adult female was translocated to Amakhala in November 2020 and has settled in well, although she is still young and taking time to gain confidence. Her successful rearing of this litter so far is a major milestone in her own development and one that Amakhala is extremely proud of.
The sire of these cubs is a male cheetah that has lived on Amakhala since September 2019. Born in captivity, Ivory (as he was nicknamed) was part of Ashia’s Release & Reintroduction Program and has successfully completed his wilding on AGR, enjoying a free-roaming existence on the reserve today. Not only that, but he is contributing important genetics towards growing the population of his species in the wild. This is a testament to the cooperation between Ashia and Amakhala Game Reserve in promoting a genetically-diverse, free-roaming cheetah population in the country. In turn, this has gone on to support the re-introduction of cheetah to other parts of their range in Africa where this species has previously gone extinct, a project spearheaded by the Endangered Wildlife Trust (EWT).
These cubs are the latest chapter in the ongoing efforts to conserve Africa’s cheetah. In collaboration with organizations like Ashia and the EWT, Amakhala strives to contribute to the protection of this species while affording visitors from around the world the opportunity to experience these magnificent animals in the wild.