AfriCat on British Television!
The ITV film-crew have been on Okonjima filming their life in captivity and the historic release of the 13 Captive Cheetahs into the new Okonjima 16 000ha private reserve - since late April!
Soon you will be able to watch Wayne, Dave, Carla, Tammy, AJ, Tristan, Mark and the real AfriCat stars - Cyclops, Hammer, Bones, Spud, Coco, Twiggy, Charlie and Trish on your screens back home in the UK.
These rehabilitated cheetahs have been monitored daily by the Okonjima guides and the guests staying on Okonjima for more than 2 days. Tracking these cheetahs on foot, and being able to report back to the AfriCat team concerning their well-being, has been a highlight for all those that have had the privilege of following these amazing cats every day!
This 12 part series follows the history of each cat and their new life in the wild and will be screened during a prime-time slot, starting 10 September 2010 @ 20H00.
BORN TO BE WILD:
The first group (released on OKONJIMA; 18 MAY 2010) - four male and two female cheetahs, were cared for by AfriCat in a smaller enclosure, but are now mature enough to be given a second chance in the wild. Females usually live and hunt separately from males, but this group have lived together since they were cubs and formed an unusual bond.
Coco, one of the two female cheetahs, has little fear of humans as she was captured from the wild as a cub and raised as a pet. The team at AFRICAT stepped in when her owner failed to feed her properly.
Her companion Bones has another story as Carla, the director of welfare explains: "His mother was shot by a hunter and he really was a bag of bones when he came here. As a result he has a real love of food and he has never forgotten that."
These cheetahs were released into OKONJIMA’S 40,000 acre wildlife reserve designed to give cats like Bones a second chance at life in the wild.
THE FIRST EPISODE will show the stages of the release which is to transfer the group to a holding area, but to do that each cheetah has to be darted and then transferred to AfriCats clinic for a health check and vaccinations. They will also be fitted with radio collars for they have to be collared because the AFRICAT TEAM has to monitor them on a daily basis.
Once the cheetahs are darted, the race is on. Cheetahs are unable to regulate their body temperature when under anaesthetic and with temperatures reaching 80 degrees the team cover them in cool wet towels and a shade cloth before heading to the clinic.
The thirty resident cheetahs, who are too old or infirm to be released, are also having check-ups and one of them, Cassie, is overheating. AfriCat Norths director Tammy Hoth and the team need to get his temperature down as soon as possible. They use fans and water to cool him while monitoring his temperature and prepare to give him intravenous fluids. Cassies temperature hits 41.6 and if it goes any higher, it could be fatal. When Carla finally announces that it is dropping the team move fast to carry out his vaccinations and health check before putting him on a drip and monitoring him for the rest of the day.
Bones and Coco are vaccinated and given radio collars while Dave and AfriCat Vet Dr Mark Jago return with the dart gun for the other cheetahs. Cocos siblings Frankie and Spud are darted followed by five year old Hammer and his sister Tongs before being brought to the clinic.
AfriCats founder Wayne Hanssen arrives to see the team working on the cheetahs. He built the reserve that was previous deluded farmland and the cheetah release has been one of his dreams. He says: "We are doing this as a team"
Once they have recovered from their anaesthetic, Coco and the others are heading out to a five acre purpose built ‘soft’ release camp where they will stay for a few days. This allows the team to ensure that the cheetahs have not suffered any ill effects from the anaesthetic and gives the cats time to acclimatise to their new environment.
The cheetahs race out of their cages and have a good look around their new environment. For the AfriCat & Okonjima Team this is the first stage of a programme that is the culmination of years of hard work. "We have raised them and looked after them, and once they get out there they have got a lot of learning to do. Hopefully they are going to get it right."
In just ten days time the gates of the holding enclosure will open and the cheetahs challenge will begin.
Last edited: Thursday, 26 August 2010
FOR MORE INFORMATION WATCH THE ITV WEBSITE
Friday, 10 September 2010, 8:00PM - 8:30PM CHEETAH KINGDOM