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Individual study: Cheetah introductions to two north west parks: case studies from Pilanesberg National Park and Madikwe Game Reserve

Published source details

Hofmeyr M. & van Dyk G. (1998) Cheetah introductions to two north west parks: case studies from Pilanesberg National Park and Madikwe Game Reserve. Proceedings of a Symposium on Cheetahs as Game Ranch Animals, Onderstepoort, 60-71.


This study is summarised as evidence for the intervention(s) shown on the right. The icon shows which synopsis it is relevant to.

Release translocated/captive-bred mammals in larger unrelated groups Terrestrial Mammal Conservation

A study in 1981–1998 in a savannah reserve in North West province, South Africa (Hofmeyr & van Dyk 1998) found that following the release of rehabilitated and captive-bred cheetahs Acinonyx jubatus in groups (unrelated and family) and as individuals, most adults survived at least one year and animals had reproduced in the wild. Most rehabilitated adult females (3 of 4) and all rehabilitated adult males (4 of 4) survived at least one year. Two rehabilitated adult females produced a second litter within two years of release. Three of 10 cubs released survived to independence, including a female who raised a litter of cubs to independence. The total population numbered 17 cheetahs one year after the end of a five year release program, compared to 18 animals released. An earlier release in the same National Park found that captive-bred cheetahs had bred successfully but most animals were subsequently removed to protect ungulate populations. Between 1995 and 1997, eighteen cheetahs (4 adult males, 4 adult females, 10 dependent cubs) were introduced to a National Park (55, 000 ha) from a rehabilitation facility (unknown if wild-born or captive-bred). Cheetahs were released in family groups (mothers with cubs), in unrelated groups (of males) or individually. In 1981-1982, seven cheetahs were released from a captive-breeding facility and after an unspecified period of time, seven cheetahs were removed leaving a group of three males. Individuals were monitored by radio-tracking.

(Summarised by Ricardo Rocha)

Place orphaned or abandoned wild young with wild foster parents Terrestrial Mammal Conservation

A study in 1994-1998 in a savannah reserve in North West province, South Africa (Hofmeyr & van Dyk 1998) found that when an orphaned female cheetah Acinonyx jubatus cub was put in a holding pen with a family of cheetahs, the orphaned female was not accepted by the group and was removed after two weeks. The orphaned female was prevented from accessing food by male cubs and the adult female was hostile towards her, although did not cause physical harm. The orphaned female cub was fed separately as a result and was relocated to a captive breeding facility after two weeks. An 8-month-old orphaned female cub was placed in a holding pen with one adult female and three 18-month-old dependent male cubs in a 60,000 ha game reserve. The orphaned female cheetah had been captured on a farm, the family group were from a rehabilitation facility.

(Summarised by Ricardo Rocha)

Release translocated/captive-bred mammals in family/social groups Terrestrial Mammal Conservation

A study in 1994-1998 in a savannah reserve in North West province, South Africa (Hofmeyr & van Dyk 1998a) found that after being kept in groups (some family groups, some unrelated groups) in holding pens, approximately half of translocated cheetahs Acinonyx jubatus survived at least 18 months, of which half died within three years. Nine of 19 cheetahs survived 19-24 months, of which six were cubs that matured to independence, but only four cheetahs were known to still be alive at the end of the study period. Six cheetahs survived in the reserve less than one year, of which one died after a few weeks and two were removed to a captive breeding facility. The fate of four released cheetahs was unknown. In total 19 cheetahs were released into a game reserve between October 1994 and January 1998. Cheetahs were initially placed in 1 ha holding pens with electrified fencing for 4 weeks to several months. Cheetahs were mostly rescued wild-caught animals, except for one that was habituated to humans (and had to be removed after 2 weeks). Cheetahs were either held in family groups (mothers with cubs) or as coalitions (of adult males). One animal/group was radio collared for monitoring.

(Summarised by Ricardo Rocha)

Release translocated/captive-bred mammals in family/social groups Terrestrial Mammal Conservation

A study in 1981–1998 in a savannah reserve in North West province, South Africa (Hofmeyr & van Dyk 1998b) found that following the release of rehabilitated and captive-bred cheetahs Acinonyx jubatus in groups (family and unrelated) and individually, most adults survived at least one year and animals bred in the wild. Most rehabilitated adult females (3 of 4) and all rehabilitated adult males (4 of 4) survived at least one year. Two rehabilitated adult females produced a second litter within two years of release. Three of 10 cubs released survived to independence, including a female who then raised her own litter of cubs to independence. The total population numbered 17 cheetahs one year after the end of a five year release program, compared to 18 animals released. An earlier release in the same National Park found that captive-bred cheetahs had bred successfully but most animals were subsequently removed to protect ungulate populations. Between 1995 and 1997, eighteen cheetahs (4 adult males, 4 adult females and 10 dependent cubs) were introduced to a National Park (55, 000 ha) from a rehabilitation facility (it is unclear whether the animals were wild caught, captive bred or reared in captivity). Cheetahs were released in family groups (mothers with cubs), in unrelated groups (of males) or individually. In 1981-1982, seven cheetahs were released from a captive-breeding facility and after a period of time (not specified), seven cheetahs were removed leaving three males in a group behind. Individuals were monitored by radio-tracking.

(Summarised by Ricardo Rocha)

Use holding pens at release site prior to release of translocated mammals Terrestrial Mammal Conservation

A study in 1994-1998 in a savannah reserve in North West province, South Africa (Hofmeyr & van Dyk 1998) found that after release from holding pens in groups, approximately half of translocated cheetahs Acinonyx jubatus survived at least 18 months, of which half died within three years. Nine of 19 cheetahs survived 19-24 months, of which six were cubs that matured to independence, but only four cheetahs were known to still be alive at the end of the study period. Six cheetahs survived in the reserve less than one year, of which one died after a few weeks and two were removed to a captive breeding facility. The fate of four released cheetahs was unknown. In total 19 cheetahs were released into a game reserve between October 1994 and January 1998. Cheetahs were initially placed in 1 ha holding pens with electrified fencing for 4 weeks to several months. The feeding regime is not specified, but cheetahs were provided with at least one carcass on being placed in the pen and were lured from the pen with a carcass. Cheetahs were mostly rescued wild-caught animals, except for one that was habituated to humans (and had to be removed after two weeks). Cheetahs were either held in family groups (mothers with cubs) or as coalitions (of adult males). One animal/group was radio collared for monitoring.

(Summarised by Ricardo Rocha)