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SCIENCE SNIPPETS: SUCCESSFULLY REARING ORPHANED CHEETAH IN THEIR NATURAL HABITAT

Adaptation from the article: Warmenhove C, Canning G, Davidson-Phillips S, van der Merwe V, Burger A, Davidson-Phillips P, Naude VN. 2020. Successful in situ supplementary feeding leads to the independence of orphaned cheetah cubs. Conservation Science and Practice. e353: 1-3. https://doi.org/10.1111/csp2.353

This paper provides evidence that orphaned Cheetah cubs can successfully, under certain conditions, be left in the wild with supplementary feeding from at least 7.5 months of age, and they will learn how to hunt and otherwise fend for themselves. The decision to take this approach was influenced by the low densities of other large carnivores, including Lion, Leopard, and Spotted Hyaena, and reduced predator visibility due to the terrain. While these species are present on Welgevonden Game Reserve, the low risk of interspecies competition was considered acceptable. This study reveals a credible alternative strategy for supporting orphaned cheetah in their natural habitat instead of removing them and placing them in captive facilities.

With mother before she died (Carmen Warmenhove)
Collar fitted to one of the orphans (Carmen Warmehove)
Play fighting (M Aucamp)
Orphans feeding (A Donaldson)