Two Rewilded Cheetahs, Two Years On - A Remarkable Rewilding Story

Two Rewilded Cheetahs, Two Years On - A Remarkable Rewilding Story

Posted by Georgia Wilson on 24th Oct 2023

Back in 2021, we brought news of a ground-breaking cheetah rewilding project undertaken by The Rhino & Elephant Conservation Project in collaboration with The Aspinall Foundation and Parc Safari. Two cheetahs born in captivity in Canada were successfully reintroduced into The Rhino & Elephant Conservation Project's semi-wild reserve in Zimbabwe! Now, two years on, they progress their remarkable journey into Phase 3 of the release plan.

Kumbe and Jabari Depart The Rhino & Elephant Conservation Project

Cheetah brothers Kumbe and Jabari were born as the sixth generation of zoo animals at Parc Safari in 2019. Chosen for their strong genetics and proven hunting skills, they were translocated from Canada to Zimbabwe in May 2021. Phase 2 saw them adapting to a semi-wild environment on the project reserve. Fitted with GPS tracking collars and released from the quarantine boma, Kumbe and Jabari quickly began exhibiting all the behaviours of a wild cheetah coalition: hunting wild prey, marking their territory, finding waterpoints and learning which animals are approachable and which to avoid. 

Kumbe & Jabari Move To New Reserve

The Rhino & Elephant Conservation Project, with help from volunteers, have monitored Kumbe and Jabari's progress, watching them grow in confidence and ability. After year one, they had successfully made over 100 kills, with their preferred species being impala (40%), blesbok (15%), tsessebe (12%) and zebra (8%). In recent weeks, two years after their initial release, the brother coalition entered Phase 3 and were relocated to a larger wilderness area in Zimbabwe. Here, the pair will encounter competing predators and other wild cheetahs. They are now officially in their natural habitat! 

Captive-born Cheetah Successfully Rewilded from Canada to Africa

Kumbe and Jabari have taken the move in their stride. They have made several kills, instinctively found water sources and encountered a wide variety of other apex predators along the way! With hope, they will soon integrate with the resident cheetahs, further contributing to the wider cheetah metapopulation.

Kumbe & Jabari Release

The director of The Rhino & Elephant Conservation Project remarked, “Kumbe and Jabari’s journey from six generations in a zoo facility to wild and free in Zimbabwe is nothing short of incredible. I continue to be humbled by the natural world and the instincts which remain so deeply embedded within wildlife. Watching the boys rewilding success has been a highlight of my career.”

It is with thanks to a multitude of individuals and organisations, including The Aspinall Foundation UK, Hemmingford Parc Safari, the Rhino and Elephant Conservation Project, Ethiopian Airlines and Zimparks, that this outstanding cheetah conservation feat was possible. We look forward to updating you on Kumbe and Jabari's progress in the near future!

 


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Lois Sutherland Wark commented 5 months ago
Wonderful rewilding case. Congratulations to all!

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