Tiger Canyon Private Game Reserve, situated in the Free State, has recently welcomed three adorable cheetah cubs to its family.
Shashe, a 10-year-old cheetah mother, has given birth to her fourth litter since residing at the reserve. The cubs, aged between eight to ten weeks, are now exploring their surroundings under the watchful eye of their mother.
During a thrilling game drive with a group of Canadian guests, field guide Daniella Kueck had the privilege of witnessing the cub’s for the first time. She expressed her excitement, stating, “Shashe brought out her cubs this morning, and it was an incredibly special experience to meet these little ones. I was shaking with excitement!”
According to Rodney Drew, the reserve’s owner and managing director, young cheetahs typically remain close to their mothers for up to three years before venturing out on their own. Drew explained, ‘In the first few weeks, they stay hidden with their mother as they are still small and vulnerable to predators, birds of prey, and other animals. However, from now on, they will be out and about with her.’
Cheetahs are known for their roaming nature, freely exploring their territories and displaying remarkable hunting skills. The reserve prides itself on its commitment to providing a natural environment for its wildlife, ensuring that no animals are confined to cages. ‘We are situated on a 6,100-hectare property where our tigers, cheetahs, and other species roam, hunt, and graze freely,’ said Drew. Tiger Canyon is renowned as the only place outside of Asia where a wild population of tigers exists, including the world’s only free-roaming white tigers. The reserve has also gained recognition for its successful tiger conservation project and for leading the way in cheetah conservation in the Free State.
In 2013, the reserve achieved a significant milestone by reintroducing wild cheetahs to the province after an absence of over a century. This achievement led to Tiger Canyon’s participation in the Cheetah Metapopulation Project, overseen by the Endangered Wildlife Trust. This collaborative conservation effort manages and monitors around 400 cheetahs across 60 African game reserves. As one of the project’s primary objectives is to enhance genetic diversity, cheetahs are often relocated between reserves once they are ready to disperse.
Remarkably, Tiger Canyon stands out as the only “soft release” reserve in the country, enabling captive-born cheetahs to be safely rewilded among their wild-born counterparts without the threat of larger predators endangering their lives. This unique approach highlights the reserve’s dedication to conservation and the well-being of these magnificent creatures.
Watch the video of the adorable cubs below:
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