The cheetah, also called the hunting leopard, is a big cat found in eastern and southern Africa. Four cheetahs call Felidae Centre home; Chaka, Zena, Max and Lexi. Despite being territorial cats, they are sociable and enjoy one another’s company. Zena, the baby of the farm, particularly enjoys playing with one of the dogs on the reserve and loves getting attention from visitors. Although cheetahs are the only big cat that cannot roar they purr and ‘chirp’ to communicate their moods. In fact, they are the only big cat that can purr!
Max and Lexi were born the 12th of May 2015 and came to our farm the same year.
Although Max & Lexi were hand raised by their previous owners who planned to keep them as pets, they now prefer to keep their distance from people. Their bond to each other is very strong and most days you can find them lounging in the shade.
Our future hopes and plans is to release them into an enclosure of a 1.000 ha with game where we hope they can become self-sufficient and learn to hunt for themselves.
Chaka was born on the 21st of November 2009.
He was hand raised by humans and originally came to Felidae for potential breeding purposes. After 1 year of no mating his owner decided to sell him and we were happy to provide him with a safe and permanent home!
Chaka is the largest cheetah on the farm and his slim wind resistant build brings his weight to only 36 kg.
Not long ago we lost out beloved Zena due to kidney failure. Zena and Chaka have been living permanently together the last 5 years. The two shared a close relation and connection and Chaka is currently very lonely in his big enclosure. For that reason we are saving up funds to find a new partner for Chaka.
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It is with a heavy heart we lost our beloved Zena the 2nd of February 2021.
Zena was in the early 2020 diagnosed with terminal kidney failure. We did everything we could to provide Zena with the best life and veterinarian care possible until the end.
Zena was the queen of Felidae and she is in our hearts forever. Not a single day goes by where she is not deeply missed by everyone at Felidae, the volunteers and our tourists. We will forever remember her always loving and purring spirit.
Rest in peace sweet girl.
These cats have slender, long legs, with a small head with distinct dark stripes (tear marks) from inside corner of the eyes to the mouth. Nearly 2000 small round or oval black spots over their entire body! Different from other big cats, a cheetah’s claws are only semi-retractable.
Cheetahs are mainly diurnal, meaning they are most active at sunrise and sunset. They prefer to rest in a place with a clear view, typically somewhere elevated. They are usually seen in pairs (males or mothers with youngsters) or alone (females). Males like to form groups called coalitions (usually brothers sticking together) to live and hunt together. Home ranges overlap and although males mark their areas with urine, not all of them demonstrate territorial behaviors. The cheetah is the fastest animal on land and relies on its speed to overtake and catch its prey.
Cheetahs avoid thickets and riverine forests, opting instead for more open woodland and plains. Arid areas allow for them to run, a necessity when hunting. The presence of prey is important, as is a large area for roaming.
Cheetahs typically eat medium sized animals, including; impala, springbok and other small antelope, calves of larger antelope, ground-living birds, such as korhaans, guinea-fowl, hares and porcupines. Coalitions of males, typically 3 or 4 brothers, can take down even larger prey, such as young zebra, wildebeest and even kudu. The diet varies depending on the area the cheetah lives in, as do their hunting habits.
Cheetahs have a relatively short gestation period of 3 months. They typically have 3-5 cubs at a time. In the wild a mother cheetah moves her cubs almost constantly to avoid attacks. Offspring generally stay with their mother 13-20 months until they gain enough skills and independence to survive on their own.
Reduced ability to survive in protected areas due to presence of bigger and more aggressive predators like lions and hyenas.
Loss of habitat and decrease of prey.
Conflict with game farmers over livestock.
Fragmentation of population leading to inbreeding and number depletions.
Public lack of knowledge.
Lack of self-sustaining captive population (breeding in captivity is rare!)
When you adopt, you’re ensuring their continuous well-being, and provide their essentials.
Be a part of helping all our stunning creatures, get some one on one time with each animal!
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