Motorbikes – The first week of freedom


Released back in September they are making their way in the wild and they are keeping AfriCat on their toes. The story of their first week is told below.

It was an easy, quick release – Aprilia leading the way!
Harley, Ducati and Starsky took a little longer to leave the safety of their 5ha enclosure.

captive cheetahs leaving their enclosure for the last time
Unfortunately within about an hour after release, Harley wondered off, and then Starsky followed, leaving the two females behind, who were still eating.
By 17:00 – 18:00  they were still about 2 kms apart from each other.

starsky and harley cheetahs namibia

Cheetah Harley looking for his cheetah familyWhile the males covered long distances within their first few days of freedom, Aprilia and Ducati remained close to ‘Alcatraz’ – the soft-release enclosure from which all four cheetahs were released.  Aprilia and Ducati remained close to their release site, but were found at a close-by water point (1.6 km south) the following morning.

On the Saturday morning Harley and Starsky were found back at ‘Alcatraz’, while Aprilia and Ducati still remained close to the water. In the afternoon Starsky united with Aprilia and Ducati – but this time no sign of Harley?

A little later Harley was found about 1 km north, but several attempts to lure him back to his companions failed; instead he continued walking into a northern direction.

The following morning Harley was found close to North Dam (8 km north from where he was sighted the previous night). Starsky – still at ‘Alcatraz’- seemed to have lost his sisters once again when he was found calling for them on top of a termite mound.

The only constant duo seemed to be Aprilia and Ducati who remained together since their release. Late that afternoon Aprilia, Ducati and Harley were found re-united again, while Harley was still all by himself in the northern part of the 200 sq km Okonjima nature reserve.

On Monday morning it was Starsky and Ducati who were found together and who moved together in the eastern direction. To our surprise we found Aprilia together with Harley, who must have moved back south, close to ‘Alcatraz’.
The duo almost managed to catch a juvenile warthog, before their chase was interrupted by an angry warthog mother.

One week after the release of Starsky, Harley, Ducati and Aprilia and after diverse split-ups and reunions, the motorbike – gang finally reunited!

The Motorbike gang moved west into open woodland where they encountered Shanti – our two-year old female leopard, after a show-down between the Motorbikes and a young oryx calf that was fiercely being protected by its mother. Shanti must have heard the commotion and moved in . . .
Having several encounters between leopards and cheetahs in mind, it is usually the cheetah who loses the fight. Not this time! Full of new energy and finding strength in numbers, it was the Motorbike gang who chased Shanti off and up the mountain.

Spotted by the Okonjima cycling team who are training for the Desert Dash – an attempt to catch a zebra was witnessed, but ended unsuccessfully.

Even though they have been able to locate water points, we are regularly supplying them with water as well as meat every third to fourth day to keep their energy levels up and to quench their thirst NAMIBIA is very hot and dry at the moment!

Cheetah gang known as the Motorbikes





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