Well today has been one hell of a day. Our initial plan was to dart the remaining Sable and Nyala to be moved to buffalo camp and the new breeding camps. We moved 33 of the Sable last week so we only had the large males and a few sub-adults still to be moved. After successfully re-locating all 9 of the Sable, which all went very smoothly (we are pro’s at this now), we had a bit of a surprise in store.
On return from buffalo camp we got word from Ed that they had spotted 2 Cheetah near the airstrip, so we all went to see if we could get a glimpse of them. One of which turned out to be Kusala, a female which has had an out of action radio collar attached to her for some years now. What a coincidence that we happened to have Peter the Vet on hand for the Sable and Nyala translocation, as normally it would prove difficult to even find Kusala, let alone hold sight of her long enough to call him in to anesthetize her for her collar removal. So after tracking her movements for a couple of hours, Pete managed to successfully dart her and we were able to remove the broken radio collar, amazing! Kusala had been wearing that collar for 5 years, almost her entire adult life, so it was a relief to get it removed before it became uncomfortably tight on her, and additionally to eliminate the risk of it getting caught up in a chase. It was fantastic for the team to get some close up views of the Cheetah, and seen as we had to stay with her for 45 minutes for the drugs to wear off everyone was able to get some close up photos with her. This was a very special addition to the days work and one that nobody could have predicted would happen, just goes to show you never know what can happen when working with wildlife!
After lunch we began the Nyala darting, all went very smoothly and we successfully moved 11 Nyala into the old Sable breeding camps. Only one youngster gave us trouble. The month old Nyala gave us the run around in camp 1 for quite a while, but we persevered and it was able to be returned to its mother in the new breeding camp. A very hectic but exciting day!