On April 14, 2012 guests at the Samara Private Game Reserve in the Great Karoo, South Africa were fortunate to witness a cheetah being released into the wild.
Bellini is a six year old female cheetah that was brought to Samara from the Endangered Wildlife Trust, as part of their cheetah metapopulation programme. This program intends to ensure optimal cheetah genetic diversity by moving cheetah between reserves. Samara Private Game Reserve adopted Bellini from a reserve in the Waterberg, where she was related to the other cheetah on the property. At Samara she brings new genes, which may also mean new life should she mate with any of our male cheetah.
When brought to Samara earlier this year, Bellini was placed in a large enclosure (a boma) in order to adapt to her surroundings in a protected environment.Just a day after her release Bellini was found her not far from the boma, towards the river, where she was wallowing in the sunshine and seeming completely content in her new environment.
Cheetah number under 1,000 in the wild in South Africa and are listed as Vulnerable on the IUCN Red List.