Mystery over 3 cheetahs found dead next to road

2017-05-30 12:24
The three young male cheetahs which were found dead next to the road outside Lephalale three weeks ago (Netwerk24)

The three young male cheetahs which were found dead next to the road outside Lephalale three weeks ago (Netwerk24)

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Polokwane - The three young male cheetahs which were found dead next to the road outside Lephalale three weeks ago, were probably run down intentionally by some "savage".

This is according to police Warrant Officer Jurg van Heerden, who removed the carcasses from tall grass next to a public gravel road.

"It is obvious that the driver had aimed for them.

"This isn't even cheetah country," he told Netwerk24.

A worker had stumbled across the carcasses while doing maintenance on the power line between Matimba and Stockpoort.

He got the fright of his life, because he initially thought the big cats were alive.

However, when he saw there was blood, he called the police.

Dumped

Van Heerden believes the cheetahs might be from a nearby farm where someone is breeding the big cats. The breeder might have had too many males and had to get rid of them.

"I suspect that the person decided to just dump them in the veld, instead of getting rid of them in the right way."

The three were not micro-chipped.

Van Heerden believes the animals were run over with a "biggish bakkie".

However, the tracks aren't clear enough anymore to determine exactly what kind of vehicle it was.

He could only see "wide tracks" on the road and in the surrounding veld.

"The carcasses were found some distance apart, which proves to me that the driver chased them with the vehicle until he could run them over."    

No accident

"All three died from a blow to the head [caused by the vehicle]. They were very young.   

"There is no way such young cheetahs could have landed up along that road by themselves."

Van Heerden added that there were no indications of the cheetahs having roamed around on any of the surrounding farms. They were just next to the road.

Limpopo provincial police spokesperson Brigadier Mojapelo Motlafela, wasn't aware of the incident.

"It doesn't sound like an accident to me," he said.

Read more on:    polokwane  |  animals

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