This week, like any other week at Inverdoorn, had some exciting events happen. We have been moving a lot of the cheetahs around in the breeding camp, as a few of the females have been in heat. Moving in the females with as many different males as we can will give us the best chance of them mating. It’s been a little frustrating as female cheetahs are very picky about whom they choose to mate with, and there is nothing you can do to force them. But the one female, Nushka, came into heat, so we have been moving her around with a few different males trying to make something happen. After inspecting her neck one morning while feeding we found bite marks. When cheetahs mate, like many other big cats, the male will bite the female on the back of the neck once they are finished. It is not a guarantee that she will become pregnant or that there will be cubs, but it is definitely a good sign and our fingers are crossed for her.
Our free-roaming cheetahs in the main reserve are doing exceptionally well this week. The female hadn’t hunted for some time due to her pervious hunting injury, which is good because we wanted her to fully recover before trying to hunt and hurt herself further. This week, during afternoon tracking, we found her in the corner of the reserve cautiously guarding a young male springbok kill. It was exciting to see her make a successful kill again. After checking in on her the next morning she had picked the carcass clean, leaving only scraps for the jackals and birds. She looked healthy and full from her meal.
We found the male on a fresh lechwe kill. He had taken the lechwe close to one of the dams and dragged it into the bushes. With a fresh kill located we wanted to put up our bush-cam to try to get shots of whatever else may be feeding on the kill. When checking the pictures and movies we found the male cheetah feeding during the day and, to our surprise, during the night as well. We also caught jackals feeding on the kill during the night. Those have been this week’s major events. Stay tuned for more to come!