Nataanywe and Family

ACK Mary's picture
Sun, 2011-08-21 12:38 by ACK Mary · Forum/category:
Nataanywe before collar removal Aug2011 Nataanywe dart preperation Aug2011 Nataanywe rehydration and frozen water bottles Aug 2011 Nataanywe blood draw Aug 2011 Nataanywe neck after collar removal Aug 2011 Nataanywe looking back before returning to her cubs Aug 2011

After the collar stopped transmitting Nataanywe was seen with 4 cubs in late August 2010. The cubs were already following her when they were seen, making them at least 5 weeks old. In October 2010, two of the cubs went missing and the local naturalists reported that they were killed by lions. She was a good mother to the remaining two cubs, frequently moving between the Serena area of the Samburu Reserve and the Ashnil area of Buffalo Springs Reserve.
The cubs are a brother and a sister. Now that the cubs are old enough we decided it was time to remove Nataanwye's collar. We decided not to re-collar her since she seems to remain in the park most of the time. The collar manufatrurer will retrieve the data that remains in the memory of the collar and we will post a new map of her movements soon.
On 8 August Lenaam (our cheetah scout from Meibae) and Dr. Elena Chelesheva (cheetah expert from the Russian Zoo) joined on the search. Thanks to a morning call from Julius Lesoli of the Elephant Bedroom Camp the cheetah family was found on our first morning out. The KWS veterinarian - Dr Mutinda - and our volunteer back-up veterinarian - Dr Likoniwalla - were both available and arrived in the Reserve by mid-day.
While we waited for the veterinary staff to arrive the cheetah family entertained us (and the throng of tourists) with several chases of dikdik and grants gazelle. The cubs were hunting on their own as their proud mother watched! As the tourist vehicles returned their guests to the lodges the veterinary team arrived and we were able to dart and remove the collar. The collar has no physical damage, so I am confident that we will retrieve the information! The cubs stayed nearby as we did a work-up on Nataanywe and she was on her feet again in less than an hour. We remained with her throughh the afternoon and left her at sunset. The happy family was seen hunting in the same area on the 12th of August.
A large male cheetah has been seen in the area as well. We fully expected that it is time for Nataanywe to go back into season any time soon. Her cubs are strong and should be ready to be on their own in the next few months. She is a good mother and it was our privilege to have the unique opportunity to learn from her. I am sure this is not the last report we will give - simply removing the collar is a step of reducing the amount of information we have from her, but most of the naturalists and rangers in the park now know her well and we will look for her in her familiar hang-outs whenever we are in the area.