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Spring brings cheetah cubs to Samara Private Game ReserveBy Jenny McFadyen, Samara Private Game Reserve
Spring, a season synonymous with new life, has seen Samara Private Game Reserve welcome a new litter of cheetah cubs into its family. The cubs’ mother, Chilli, is the daughter of the legendary Sibella, whose story has been told worldwide, most recently in a National Geographic documentary, ‘The Miracle Cheetah’.
This is the second litter of cubs that Chilli has produced. The first litter was born in January 2017, and the cubs have grown up to be independent young adults roaming the Samara reserve, now hunting for themselves.
“The discovery of Chilli’s new litter was an exciting surprise,” enthuses Marnus Ochse, General Manager at Samara. He reveals that the litter – comprising at least two cubs – was spotted by one of the trackers while taking clients on a guided walk. “Chilli was moving the cubs at the time,” Marnus says. “Although it was a wonderful sight, the tracker didn’t want to distress the new mother, so he retreated to give her space.”
Marnus says that although the rangers are eager to see how mother and cubs are progressing, their plan is to give them time to settle before they try to spot them again.
Sibella’s Story: survival against all odds
Sibella was born a wild cheetah in South Africa’s North West province, and her life nearly ended at the hands of hunters when she was just two years old. Attacked by dogs that tore the flesh from her hind legs, she was violently beaten and locked in a cage. She was fortunate to be rescued by the De Wildt Cheetah and Wildlife Trust. Following her recovery and rehabilitation, Sibella was relocated to Samara, becoming the first wild cheetah back in the Great Karoo in 125 years.
The Samara team will be keeping a close eye on the new cheetah cubs and will track their progress over the next few months and years.