Mission: Cheetah tracking
Date: 15 May 2009
Requesting organisation: Kgalagadi Cheetah Project
Location: Twee Rivieren in the Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park
Pilot: Avroy Shlain
“On Friday 15 May 2009, Bateleurs Director and pilot, Avroy Shlain, made the long flight in his Cessna 182 from Lanseria to Twee Rivieren in the Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park, stopping off at Upington to refuel. His mission was to track the elusive and wide-ranging radio collared cheetahs that form the core of the Kgalagadi Cheetah Project. He touched down at Twee Rivieren at 13h30 – precisely as planned.
The Saturday morning was made for flying – bright and cool with no wind. Of our seven radio collared cheetahs I was particularly keen to find three females with whom we had not made contact for several weeks. We got off to a good start and within five minutes I got a signal from the first of the three. We found our second female about 20 minutes later, approximately 50 km up the Nossob River from Twee Rivieren. We then flew west across the dunes towards the Auob River and found another cheetah – but not one of the targeted three females – close to Kamkwa about halfway up the Auob River between Twee Rivieren and MataMata. We had seen this female the previous week with three small cubs. We then turned south towards Twee Rivieren and soon thereafter picked up a signal from the missing female. On the way back we also found a coalition of two males, and landed at Twee Rivieren having accomplished in two hours what we might not have done in an entire week on the ground. That afternoon we looked up one of our females and found her with a steenbok carcass – and we were back home in time to watch The Bulls versus The Sharks!
Once again a very big thank you to Avroy and The Bateleurs for this much appreciated support for our project.”