Cheetahs released into Babanango for the first time in 200 years

accreditation
0:00
play article
Subscribers can listen to this article
One of the cheetahs roaming free in the Babanango Game Reserve.
One of the cheetahs roaming free in the Babanango Game Reserve.
Andrew Baxter/Babanango Game Reserve
  • Two young male cheetahs are the first to be released in the Babanango landscape in about 200 years.
  • They were released into the Babanango Game Reserve earlier this month.
  • Both males arrived from the Western Cape in May.

For the first time in about two centuries, cheetahs have been released into the Babanango wilderness in KwaZulu-Natal.

"The cheetah release means a lot for the establishment of [the] Babanango Game Reserve. As we know that cheetahs are scarce in the world, releasing new individuals and expanding cheetah conservation areas means more of this species on the continent," said Musa Mbatha, Babanango's reserve manager.

The return of cheetahs was part of the newly established reserve's rewilding process, Mbatha added.

"We are making history in returning these majestic cats. The dream of rewilding Babanango is slowly getting fulfilled every day."

The two males were released into the 19 000-hectare property in a conservation milestone for the species and reserve.

It was the first time in approximately 200 years that this iconic predator would have roamed the spectacular landscape of Babanango, an area steeped in historic significance and nestled in the heart of KwaZulu-Natal, Mbatha said.

One of the cheetah who have been homed in the Baba
One of the cheetahs that have been homed in the Babanango Game Reserve.
Conservationists working with the cheetah.
Conservationists working with the cheetah.

The young males, brothers from the Roam Private Game Reserve in the Western Cape, arrived in May. They were held in the Babanango boma for a few weeks for the pre-release phase and monitoring.

Their release into the game reserve went smoothly under the guidance of veterinarian Ryan van der Venter and Mbatha.

Babanango's chief operations officer, Andrew Baxter, said they hoped to house even more wildlife in the future.

"Cheetahs now roam and hunt freely among the valley of the kings after an absence of some 200 years. More iconic species such as elephants, lions and black rhino are on their way."

Baxter thanked the local community for their contribution to the reserve.

He said, "We salute our many partners - our neighbouring communities who have invested their precious land, our visionary benefactors for their bold commitments, our dedicated and professional staff who see the bigger picture."

Both cheetahs were fitted with tracking collars to assist in post-release monitoring in their new landscape with their movements tracked daily.

Two days after their release, they successfully hunted an adult hartebeest.

Cheetahs are listed as "vulnerable" by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature Red List of Threatened Species and therefore it is crucial for the growth of their population, genetic diversity and importantly the protection of natural habitat for them to thrive.



We live in a world where facts and fiction get blurred
In times of uncertainty you need journalism you can trust. For 14 free days, you can have access to a world of in-depth analyses, investigative journalism, top opinions and a range of features. Journalism strengthens democracy. Invest in the future today. Thereafter you will be billed R75 per month. You can cancel anytime and if you cancel within 14 days you won't be billed. 
Subscribe to News24
Voting Booth
The ANC's leadership race is heating up. Who do you think will be elected party president at Nasrec in December?
Please select an option Oops! Something went wrong, please try again later.
Results
Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma has got it in the bag
6% - 315 votes
I foresee a second term for Cyril Ramaphosa
82% - 3960 votes
Don’t discount a Zweli Mkhize win
12% - 579 votes
Vote
Rand - Dollar
18.07
-0.7%
Rand - Pound
20.13
-0.9%
Rand - Euro
17.69
-0.4%
Rand - Aus dollar
11.62
+0.3%
Rand - Yen
0.12
-0.5%
Gold
1,664.99
+0.3%
Silver
19.06
+1.3%
Palladium
2,184.50
-1.0%
Platinum
867.50
-0.1%
Brent Crude
88.49
-0.9%
Top 40
57,390
+0.8%
All Share
63,726
+0.7%
Resource 10
60,230
+0.7%
Industrial 25
77,400
+0.8%
Financial 15
13,796
+0.7%
All JSE data delayed by at least 15 minutes Iress logo
Editorial feedback and complaints

Contact the public editor with feedback for our journalists, complaints, queries or suggestions about articles on News24.

LEARN MORE