This is the first time the Okonjima game reserve has witnessed the birth of cheetah cubs in the wild, all thanks to the wonderful work at the AfriCat team, the foundation that continues to strive towards the long-term survival of Namibia’s predators in their natural habitat.
So much hard work goes into the rehabilitation of cheetahs and leopards. From the first days of receiving orphans, to the gradual reintroduction into the wild, to the point where they do become wild; it is a long journey – made worthwhile by the sight of three cheetah cubs.
This is what Donna Hanssen, who heads up AfriCat, said “We are not sure how to express the surprise, joy and utter sense of relief after many hours, days, weeks, months and years of hard work – finally paying off. Our project started in 2000 and this is the first time two previously captive cheetahs – now hunting independently – have successfully bred and been able to produce off-spring!”
This is how one of the Guides at Okonjima game reserve recalls finding the cubs for the first time, “Today’s Cheetah Tracking started as usual – deciding which cheetahs to track and I decided to go for ‘Dizzy’ or ‘Tongs’, knowing I always get good sightings on one of my favourite girls, and they always pay off. Oh! And did Dizzy pay off!”
“I went off-road (following the signal from her collar) and spotted her in the bush. I told my guests to wait in the vehicle so I could see if there was a better angle, and found a good opening through the bush and long grass. I got my guests to climb down slowly and follow me. When I got a better look at her, what a shock … I caught sight of three little bundles of baby cheetah!”
“My heart felt like it was hammering like a sledge hammer. It felt like a dream. I had to check three times before I was sure.”
“My best sighting ever!”
This is a truly wonderful sight.