Cheetah Diaries: Conservation Behind the Scenes

By Samara on August 29, 2016

As part of our commitment to conservation best-practice, Samara works with the Endangered Wildlife Trust (EWT) on their South African Cheetah Metapopulation Project. This programme seeks to ensure the long-term viability of this iconic Big Cat by managing cheetah populations within a sound ecological framework, particularly amongst small fenced reserves.

As part of this programme, one of Samara’s male cheetah, Pepper, is being relocated to Sanbona Wildlife Reserve in the Western Cape. Pepper is a direct descendent of Sibella, Samara’s iconic cheetah who was the first cheetah to be reintroduced back into the Great Karoo in 125 years. Born in Sibella’s last litter of two cubs, he is brother to Chilli, currently our only female cheetah. They are both approximately 4 years old.

Pepper, photographed by Tendai Moyo
Pepper, photographed by Tendai Moyo

In order to avoid the possibility of Pepper and Chilli mating, which could lead to genetic defects in their cubs such as smaller adult size, reduced fertility and loss of immune system functioning, Pepper is set to be darted and relocated this week. He will be replaced by an adult male from Sanbona who is not related to Chilli. The long-term viability of the cheetah metapopulation is dependent on this kind of sound genetic management to avoid inbreeding, and we hope that we will hear the pitter-patter of tiny, healthy cheetah paws soon!

Over the next few months we’ll be posting a series of #CheetahDiaries to give you an insight into the relocation process and Samara’s new cheetah population dynamics. Join us as we shine a light on conservation behind the scenes!

You can follow the stories on Facebook at fb.me/SamaraKaroo

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