Two new cheetahs join Rietvlei Nature Reserve

Posted by Anita Froneman on 8 October 2020

Two sub-adult cheetahs, Ndjozi and Joe, are the latest additions to the Rietvlei Nature Reserve in Gauteng. The two cats are part of the cheetah expansion project at the Endangered Species Trust.

The female, Ndjozi, comes from the Western Cape and Joe, the male comes from Limpopo. Ndjozi will remain at Rietvlei but Joe will be relocated again to Karingane Nature Reserve in Mozambique next year, according to SABC. They are both 19 months old.

‘We’ve released them on Rietvlei so they can learn how to hunt together, so that they can make mistakes together. So that they can become functional cheetahs together,’ Vincent van der Merwe, cheetah meta-population manager of the Endangered Wildlife Trust said.

‘And when they are functional, Ndjozi will do her own thing on Rietvlei and hopefully raise many cubs and then Joe will go to Mozambique where he will hopefully do well and help establish cheetahs in Karingane Nature Reserve in Mozambique.’

A wildebeest carcass was left for them, and they seemed to be pleased with this welcoming meal. Take a look at Joe’s first few moments after being released:


‘So Rietvlei is just one of many reserves in the meta-population. Meta-population is the population of populations. And then what we do is because all these reserves are fenced there is no more natural gene flow, so we have to do human-mediated gene flow, basically putting the cheetah on the back of a bakkie and driving them between the reserves to prevent inbreeding,’ Van der Merwe continued.

‘So the main objective of this project is to prevent inbreeding, and to increase cheetah numbers and to identify safe space for cheetahs. So this is a fenced reserve, it’s well managed, it’s well looked after, they got cheetah monitors. So it’s a safe space for cheetahs.’

‘It’s wonderful from a tourism perspective and an ecological perspective,’ Van der Merwe added. ‘They will now hopefully be in free roaming conditions for the rest of their lives.’

Picture: Twitter/LielaMagnus

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