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Feeding during the boma period

  • Cheetah released into the recipient reserve boma should be fed at least 3kg of pure game meat per Cheetah per day.
  • After one week, the feeding regime should be changed to once every three days with at least 15kgs of game meat per Cheetah (including bone mass).
  • For single animals, half carcasses of medium sized antelope (with skin on) can be fed together with heart, lungs and liver. When more than one animal is present in a boma, whole carcasses should be allocated.
  • A medium sized antelope (e.g. male impala) fed every three days will adequately feed up to three adult Cheetah. The feeding frequency should not be increased. Unfit and overweight Cheetah will be at a disadvantage following release.
  • If the Cheetah are surviving on a carcass every three or four days then they should be able to cope with a few days hunger following release. This should give then sufficient time to adapt to their new conditions and make their first kill.

This feeding regime has been followed at various reintroduction sites for a variety of predators without any problems. It is recommended that Cheetah in boma’s be fed by physically dropping the carcasses from a vehicle into the feeding area. The advantage of this method is that these Cheetah can then be manually fed in the wild for veterinary and management purposes. Cheetah quickly learn to distinguish between feeding and non-feeding vehicles.

Metapopulation reserves often shoot game to feed Cheetah held in their bomas. Under no circumstances should a shotgun be utilised for this purpose. One Metapopulation Cheetah has died from lead poisoning as a result. A suitable hunting rifle should be utilised and suitable prey animals should preferably be shot in the head. A concerted effort should be made to ensure that no bullet remains in the body of the animal killed.