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Sample collection

The ongoing collection of biological samples from Metapopulation Cheetah is necessary to ensure that genetic diversity is maintained at adequate and sustainable levels.   Gaps in the sampling effort should be identified and addressed.
Reserves are encouraged to collect biological samples when their Cheetah are immobilised for the following purposes:

  1. Collaring Cheetah
  2. Changing collars when batteries are flat
  3. Any form of veterinary work
  4. The recapture of Cheetah that have escaped into neighbouring properties
  5. Relocation to another reserve

Hair samples can also be collected when Cheetah move through reserve fencelines and hair is found lodged on the wiring. If any samples are collected then it is requested that reserves fill out the below biological sampling sheet.

Biological sampling kits can be ordered from Vincent van der Merwe. Please order kits at least one week prior to the date of immobilisation. This will allow sufficient time for the kits to be couriered. Ideally kits should be kept on the reserve for any sampling opportunities.  Vincent van der Merwe can be contacted at:
Email: vincentv@ewt.org.za
(T) +27 (0) 74 166 0410.

Sample collection guidelines

  • Complete the whole sampling procedure on one animal before starting with the next animal.
  • Open sealed bag.
  • Open the sealed container.
  • Collect blood in all the blood tubes provided – ensure that the tubes are full.
  • Additional sample bottles are provided for collection of tissue specimens. If tissue is collected then only small sliver of skin should be cut from the flap of the ear.  
  • If no freezer facilities are available the tissue specimen must be placed in the sample bottle containing the blue silicon beads.
  • Collect hair from the back of the neck or tail ensuring that the hair contains visible hair roots and place in the blue topped cylindrical tube.
  • Collect a buccal swab by rubbing the swab provided on the inside of the cheek, allowing to it to air dry for 5 seconds by waving in the air and replacing in the swab container.
  • Replace the tubes and sample bottles in the white container and reseal with the new lid provided.
  • Complete the form in full and replace in the ziplock bag provided.
  • Do not swop tubes or bottles between kits and ensure that the correct form is included with the correct kit. Data sheets and sample tubes have a unique barcode.
  • Place the sealed container, form and buccal swab in the outer plastic bag and seal.
  • NB!! Samples should be kept frozen at all times. Samples being transport to the laboratory should be kept cool with ice packs.

Contact details for further information:
Cindy Harper - Veterinary Genetics Laboratory, Faculty of Veterinary Science, University of Pretoria, Onderstepoort.
Email: cindy.harper@up.ac.za
(T) +27 (0) 12 529 8450 or +27 (0) 82 466 9963.
Sample shipment
Samples should be sent to the laboratory by the most rapid means possible and kept cool during transport.  Avoid sending samples late in the week or prior to statutory holidays. This may result in samples being held up in the postage system allowing for chemical and enzymatic degradation of DNA.  Samples can be sent by:

  • Courier to: Veterinary Genetics Laboratory; Faculty of Veterinary Science; University of Pretoria; Soutpan Road; Onderstepoort;  0110
  • Or delivered by hand: Proof of delivery and receipt by a VGL staff member is required.