LIFESTYLE NEWS - The only growing cheetah metapopulation in the world is that belonging to the Endangered Wildlife Trust’s (EWT) Cheetah Range Expansion Project.
This once-thriving predator is now confined to just 9% of its former habitat.
Historically, cheetahs lived across Africa and in southwestern Asia.
According to a study conducted in 2016, just 7,100 cheetahs are left in the world and more than half of these live on unprotected land, making them easy prey in ongoing human-wildlife conflicts.
Genetic diversification and demographic integrity are the lifelines of cheetah populations, which, thanks to a multitude of partners and stakeholders through the EWT’s project, has allowed cheetahs to cheat death, for now.
The EWT’s project manages an estimated 421 cheetahs on 61 fenced reserves throughout southern Africa.
Their latest adventure saw the successful relocation of an 18-month-old female cheetah from the Western Cape to Rietvlei Nature Reserve in Gauteng.
The young cheetah was joined by two male cheetahs from Welgevonden Game Reserve around the same age, who were to bond and be released as a unit, for them to hunt more efficiently and settle into their new surroundings.
The two males will be flown to Mozambique early next year, as part of the region’s gradual reintroduction of cheetahs into the country, which will be co-ordinated by EWT.
These cheetahs are so important because of their genetics, which will diversify the gene pool of other cheetahs not related to them in the metapopulation.
Sadly, projects like this are needed because of humans. Cheetahs are fast becoming extinct because of prey loss due to overhunting and the bushmeat trade, habitat loss, the illegal wildlife trade, and conflict with humans.
It is predicted that population growth in addition to large-scale fencing and land grabs, among other issues, could ultimately seal the fate of the world’s fastest land animal.
Having been relocated from the Kommetjie area to Tokai by the City of Cape Town’s baboon management team, Human and Wildlife Solutions last month, Kataza the baboon is back in the spotlight after he was reportedly mauled by an alpha male in his new home on Saturday.
The exact details around the incident are unclear, however, the animal is not in immediate danger as a result of the injuries he sustained, according to the Cape of Good Hope Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA).
The SPCA said in a Facebook post that the baboon, also known as SK11, was treated by a private veterinarian, who assessed his injuries.
“The Cape of Good Hope’s wildlife department worked with the City in order to get a veterinarian to assess the extent of Kataza’s injuries.
The private veterinarian who visually assessed Kataza made the conclusion he is not in immediate danger as a result of the injuries he sustained.
“The veterinarian also concluded that it is unsafe to dart Kataza at this time. The veterinarian will return tomorrow to re-evaluate Kataza and a decision will then be made on the way forward,” the organisation said.