The Miracle 8 are certainly growing up right before our eyes. And as they grow up, we decided it was time to bring in the next step of their rewilding process – food that doesn’t arrive in a bowl!
They started off small by giving them some zebra legs – stripped of the meat but with some skin and sinew on it. After placing them in the enclosure, Foundation director Caroline and the rest of the assisting staff stood back to watch what took place. They anticipated a huge rush of cubs to the zebra legs, with some squabbles over them. They couldn’t have been more wrong! To their surprise, the cubs all eyed the zebra legs suspiciously from afar, and while there was lots of hissing and spitting at them, not one of the cubs dared to approach the zebra legs.
After some time of sussing out the situation, one of the cubs finally ventured towards a leg, sniffed it a fair amount, and gave it a nibble. Game changer! He immediately started gnawing on the leg, realizing what he had been missing out on! Is he going to be our champion hunter? We shall have to wait and see!
The other cubs still refused to join in, even though the gnawing cub was clearly having a good time. Eventually, another cub decided to risk it and give the leg a go. Unfortunately, the rest of the cubs remained uncertain throughout, whilst the two brave cubs had the time of their life with the legs!
When the two cubs were done, the staff left the bones in the enclosure for a few hours before removing them.
Later in the week, the cubs were given zebra legs again. This time around, all the cubs plucked up their courage and every one of them braved the unknown territory of the zebra leg. Once they had made the first step, they all enjoyed the experience immensely! Even the previously anticipated squabbling over legs took place! That being said, overall, they shared their treats very well.
Without realizing it, these cubs have shared their first ‘kill’ together, forming bonds that we trust will carry them as a hunting team once they are released. We are once again very proud of the progress these cubs have made and continue to have high hopes for their rewilding in future.
Dinokeng Game Reserve