Study

Pre-release hunting training and post-release monitoring are key components in the rehabilitation of orphaned large felids

  • Published source details Houser A., Gusset M., Bragg C.J., Boast L.K. & Somers M.J. (2011) Pre-release hunting training and post-release monitoring are key components in the rehabilitation of orphaned large felids. South African Journal of Wildlife Research, 41, 11-20.

Actions

This study is summarised as evidence for the following.

Action Category

Provide live natural prey to captive mammals to foster hunting behaviour before release

Action Link
Terrestrial Mammal Conservation
  1. Provide live natural prey to captive mammals to foster hunting behaviour before release

    A study in 2005–2009 in three dry savannah sites in Botswana (Houser et al. 2011) found that after being provided with live prey during captive rearing, orphaned cheetah Acinonyx jubatus and leopard Panthera pardus cubs successfully hunted live prey after release and survived for between 7 months and at least 19 months. All three cheetahs survived on naturally hunted prey after release. However, they were all shot and killed within seven months of release. The leopard hunted live prey, and remained alive 19 months after release. Three 3–6 month-old, wild-born cheetahs were taken into a rearing facility in January–February 2005. They were fed 1.5–3.0 kg of meat, six days/week. This decreased as live and dead rabbits, poultry and wild prey was gradually introduced. After 16 months, they were moved to a 100-ha enclosure stocked with live prey, primarily impalas Aepyceros melampus and tsessebes Damaliscus lunatus. They were released seven months later. The leopard was kept from October 2006 (when six months old) and released after 18 months in a holding facility stocked with live prey. Animals were satellite-tracked until death for the cheetahs (seven months) and for 19 months for the leopard (to November 2009).

    (Summarised by: Madeleine Macmillian and Stella Wang)

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