Predator Interaction – Mortality

Over the last couple of years we had so many positive news to share regarding our conservation efforts related to cheetahs. Especially our females were exceptionally successful raising large litters.
Today we have to share sad news, we found our Gondwana male dead.

On Saturday 13/02/2021 we checked up on the Gondwana cheetah male which showed a “No Movement” update which means the built in accelerometer did not move from the last satellite update. Unfortunately we found him dead in the veld. Most probable cause of death would be lion attack due to the puncture (teeth) and scrape (nails) wounds all over his body and his broken back. No signs of human activity was found. Cheetah mortalities caused by other predators (lion, spotted hyena) is quite common and therefore it is a totally natural occurrence. The lion closest to the area that he was found was an uncollared female with four cubs of roughly 6 months of age. The fact that this lion female has cubs could have incited her to kill the cheetah because of competition for food or a threat to her cubs.

The Gondwana cheetah male born in March 2015 (± 6 years) was released into the DGR on 26\03\2019, he came from Gondwana Game Reserve in the Western Cape. On arrival in the DGR on 26/02/2019 it was found that he had an abscess in his jaw caused by a broken 4th premolar tooth which was suspectedly caused by biting on a piece of wire or steel. Both his 4th premolars were removed by Onderstepoort Veterinary Institute dental specialists, and healed completely. He did well in on the reserve and he was often seen in the east of the DGR mostly on the Rens Property and Doortjie’s Loop. He also had a broken toe in 2020 which we treated with boma rest for 6 weeks, from which he also healed completely.

According to the satellite collar data and sightings it seems most likely that he sired the 6 cubs of the DGR female (Currently 7 as 1 was swapped with the Rietvlei female). This means that before his death he shared his genetics into the cheetah metapopulation of Southern Africa and increased the genetic health of the DGR. We are planning to introduce a new cheetah male through swapping some of the younger animals with other reserves.

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