AN EXCITING DAY FOR TEAM AFRICAT AND OKONJIMA
Finally the big day had come! The gates of Alcatraz – the 5 ha recovery camp that was home to Dizzy and her three cubs for the last 10 months – were opened and represents the starting point to a new and adventurous life.
You never quite know what to expect when the gates are opening for the first time for a cat (or dog) that are about to be released back into the wild after they have spent the past weeks or months in captivity due to injuries, recovery or as in Dizzy’s case the conservation and protection of her three cubs. In a few cases it happens that animals just seize their opportunity and leave as soon as they can with little effort on our side. Other times animals are rather skittish and don’t entirely trust the happenings around them and it’s quite a struggle to lure them into freedom. In Dizzy’s case patience and endurance were the traits that were needed the most.
Dizzy’s release was a long anticipated happening and accordingly a lot of our guests were lucky to witness the “big release”. Initially trying to lure Dizzy out of her familiar environment with a piece of meat – in the hope the little one would follow her – failed. Even though she reluctantly came for the lure, she obviously didn’t trust the scene and frequently went back into the safety of her camp. However, her two male cubs seemed to be more confident and curious and – after awhile – followed the lure out of the camp leaving the gates behind them. Dizzy and eventually her little female cub followed the lead of the two males and the gates of Alcatraz were finally closed behind them.
This morning Dizzy and her cubs were found about 2 kilometers west of where they were released the previous day in an area of open plains. Despite being 10 months in captivity, Dizzy – who always was an excellent hunter – seems to already be back into her stalking mode and was carefully watching a herd of wildebeest that remained close by this morning. We hope that she will be back in her hunting routine as soon as possible and that she’ll be able to teach her offspring the valuable life lessons that are needed to survive in this environment.
We hope that all the effort and hard work was worth it and that the decision to let these gorgeous three cubs grow up under safe and controlled conditions will pay off in the end.