LOOK: Thaba - new male cheetah introduced to Rietvlei Nature Reserve in Tshwane
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The Endangered Wildlife Trust (EWT) and the City of Tshwane on Tuesday introduced a male cheetah to the Rietvlei Nature Reserve as part of the EWT’s Cheetah Metapopulation Project.
The project is aimed at maintaining the genetic and demographic integrity of cheetahs on 61 selected fenced reserves in the country, and to increase the resident range of these free-roaming predators across southern Africa.
Currently, the EWT project, supported by a host of partners and stakeholders, manages 421 cheetahs across the country.
Tshwane Mayor Randall Williams said the six-year-old male cheetah named Thaba originally hails from the Shambalala Reserve in Limpopo, before it was relocated to the Mount Camdeboo Private Game Reserve in the Eastern Cape.
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"During his time there he sired cubs with two females before the decision was made to relocate him to Rietvlei Nature Reserve to join Njozi for breeding purposes," said Williams.
As part of the Cheetah Metapopulation Project, EWT decided to keep a breeding female at Rietvlei Nature Reserve on a permanent basis, while rotating males when required.
This was done to lessen the impact of the predatory cats on prey in the popular Pretoria reserve.
Williams said newborn cubs, sired by Thaba in the future, will be relocated to other nature reserves when they reach adulthood.
"Thaba is collared and will be monitored closely by the reserve’s conservation officials, and we hope to welcome new cheetah cubs to the Cheetah Metapopulation Project soon," he said.
In April, the Rietvlei Nature Reserve added a new member to its dwindling rhino family, with a newborn calf first spotted with its mother, India.
At the time, Tshwane MMC for Environmental and Agriculture Management, Dana Wannenburg said the calf was estimated to be about four days old going into the Easter weekend.
India was relocated to Rietvlei from the Hluhluwe Game Reserve in KwaZulu-Natal in 2011, and her first calf was born in Rietvlei in 2014.