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A decade of cheetah conservation in Manyoni

Over the past two months, our guests and rangers have been treated to excellent sightings of the latest spotted additions and their mother to the reserve. These little cubs are the result of years of dedicated cheetah conservation in Manyoni that we have been so fortunate to watch and contribute to with the help of our guests. The cheetah is currently classified as vulnerable by the IUCN Red List, although there is a strong push amongst conservationist to increase the classification to endangered. There are only an estimated 1 000 individuals in South Africa, which is why cheetah conservation in Manyoni is important to securing the survival of this beautiful big cat. This litter of cheetah cubs and mom were spotted by Sun Chasing Travelers in October

A decade of cheetah conservation in Manyoni

Manyoni Private Game Reserve introduced a founder population of four cheetahs (two males and two females) in August 2009. Since then, the amazing team at Wildlife ACT has worked tirelessly to manage the cheetah population and introduce new animals for genetic variation as part of the endangered species reintroduction initiative. At the start of this year, a coalition of male cheetah arrived on Manyoni from a game reserve in Limpopo. They were successfully released into the holding boma, a common practice that allows the animals to acclimatize to their new environment before being released into the reserve. The area they came from is a newly fenced reserve and many of the cheetah there are former free roamers that have little to no experience with humans. The older adult male was three and a half years old and was been bonded with a 20-month-old sub-adult male.
Two cheetah enter the boma as part of cheetah conservation in Manyoni Private Game Reserve
The pair of male cheetahs introduced into the boma on Manyoni
Bonding male cheetah is done by introducing two unrelated males together in a holding boma with a dividing fence to prevent initial fighting. Over the course of a few weeks, they start to become accustomed to the other’s presence, the dividing fence is then removed and eventually the goal is to get them to feed on the same carcass as well as patrol the boma together. Bonding single male cheetahs gives them a greater chance at survival and success at spreading their genetics by mating with females.

The future of cheetah conservation on the reserve

The pair was was released from the boma into the reserve in April, and so the next generations of Manyoni cubs may have be fathered by one of these males. During the course of this year alone, we celebrated the birth of several litters of cubs on the reserve, and the population is now estimated to be well over 25 individuals. Through careful management and introduction of new animals for genetic variation, Manyoni is now in a position to contribute to the country’s meta-population by moving cheetah to new reserves.
One of the cheetah cubs spotted by Sun Chasing Travelers in October
We highly recommended that guests wanting to experience conservation hands-on book a wildlife monitoring session. You will have the opportunity to learn about the use of telemetry equipment and track down one of the collared animals on Manyoni. You will get to know the team as well as gain insight into animal behaviour and wildlife management. You can participate in either elephant, lion or cheetah tracking. An afternoon or morning session can be booked. When you stay with us at Rhino Sands, you are contributing to wildlife conservation and environmental management on Manyoni Private Game Reserve. Please contact us or enquire and book using our online form.

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