Public will soon be able to spot cheetahs in Rietvlei
Fans of the Rietvlei Nature Reserve are looking forward to the day they can be on the lookout for its two new cheetahs.
Njozi, a sub-adult female cheetah which arrived last month, now has a mate, a male sub-adult released in the popular Pretoria city reserve last week.
For now they cannot be seen by the visiting public as they are being kept in a cordoned-off boma to give them a chance to settle.
They will stay together in the reserve until it is time for the male to be relocated – the hope is they will produce a litter, as was the case with previous cheetahs in the reserve.
The two took to each other like ducks to water, said Vincent van der Merwe of the Endangered Wildlife Trust (EWT), and they are settling and should be released into the wider reserve by the end of September.
Van der Merwe said it had been an anxious time when the male from Welgevonden was released as they did not know how Njozi would react. She had come from a family in the Western Cape and been skittish at first, but became more confident with time.
He said they were ready to separate the two if they got in a fight, but it was not necessary. Instead, Njozi called out to the male and when he approached, they licked one another.
“They are very relaxed with each other and bonded nicely. Let’s see how they adapt to their new surroundings when we release them,” he said.
He described the new male as a beautiful animal with a mix of Karoo and Namibian genetics.
Knowledge of cheetahs has grown fast and the EWT has had success with its metapopulation project for the long-term viability of cheetahs in smaller fenced reserves, and with the long-term genetic and demographic integrity of the metapopulation across Africa.
Funds to support the project have come from CRC Industries, Q20 SA, Lions Club of Pretoria City and Strata Logistics.
In 2017, Kiara and Sabona produced a litter of three cubs, the first time cheetah cubs had been born in the reserve, and they were a hit with visitors until their relocation.