Another three cheetah cubs are at the Kevin Richardson Wildlife Sanctuary. Their mother had not been poached, but rather killed by a lion – a sad reality of the wild.
The DGR rangers did an absolutely great job in catching the cubs, but the wily little cheetah gave them the run-around for a whole 9 hours! Everyone was incredibly relieved once they were finally caught.
Over the span of three to four weeks, the staff at the sanctuary underwent quite an adventure to introduce the new additions to the coalition!
Although the New 3 are younger than the Miracle 5, they were already bigger – proof of the nutritious value of their mother’s milk! When they first arrived, frightened of humans and traumatised to be on their own, they tried unsuccessfully to scare off the strange creatures that had taken them from their home. Once the wary cubs realized that their attempts were unsuccessful, they changed tactics and rather grimly accepted their fate by sulking in the corner instead.
Meanwhile, the little Miracles were back at their enclosure, blissfully unaware of the strangers that had been brought in!
For the first few days, the New 3 were kept apart from the Miracle 5. Conveniently, one of the staff members had built a chicken house but not yet put in any chickens. This made the perfect makeshift night pen for the Miracle 5 as the New 3 moved in. The chicken house was put inside the bigger enclosure with a tunnel for them to be herded through. In Caroline’s words, “They loved us working in the enclosure and testing it, they are so curious. They even got the chance to run in the bigger enclosure, so they had the best day ever!”
After a few days of letting the Newbies get used to the Miracles, it was time to let the two groups meet each other. The meeting was slow at first. Both parties tried to play it cool, and practically avoided each other altogether! No animosity, but no interest either! They ultimately spent their first encounter together but separate, linked by a “walkway” that joined the two areas.
Eventually it was time to speed up the meet-and-greet. They were to sleep together in the original night pen! Their first night together was nail-biting for some of the staff, but all fears dissipated when the eight cubs were found the following morning – in good spirits! The only setback was the two groups’ continued distance from each other.
Over the next few days, they finally had the first real progress! The New 3 had calmed down and settled into their new home. That’s when it happened: the two groups started grooming each other and mingling! Hurray! We are so thrilled with the improvement and that the cubs have eventually warmed up to each other. It sparks high hopes for their future as one coalition!
We would not have had the funds to take on these new three if it weren’t for your incredible support of the Miracle 5. We appreciate your monthly donations immensely, as do the cubs!
22 September 2021
Dinokeng Game Reserve