NALA – A new little ray of hope for the cheetahs at Samara

image006SAMARA, AFRICA —  Samara, is a luxurious holiday destination and wildlife conservation project has just introduced the new Mandela landscapes tour. This new seven day tour celebrates the life and origins of the great Nelson Mandela.  The Eastern Cape was the centre of the Apartheid struggle for many years and houses Mandela’s birthplace amid magnificent and varied scenery. This unique tour has been designed and managed by Edge World Tours, led by experienced guide Rob Prentis and involves staying at many fabulous lodges, including at Samara, as well as visiting historical and cultural locations which played an essential part in shaping Nelson Mandela’s character.

Samara Private Game Reserve is proud to be home to a new baby cheetah, who her rescuers have named Nala, which means, “Hope.”

In the middle of June, a tiny little cheetah cub was born to Bellini, one of the wild cheetah females at Samara.  However, none of Bellini’s cubs had survived before, so it was understandable that she decided to hide her new cub under a bush very close to Samara’s Karoo Lodge, where she knew that humans would find her.

Whilst normal policy at Samara is to leave nature to its own devices, the staff at Karoo Lodge felt their hearts melting, as she mewed with hunger as her mother had abandoned her, and agreed to take her into their homes, feeding her every one and a half hours through day and night.  They named her Nala, meaning ‘hope’ and now at six weeks old, she appears to be thriving.

Cheetah fossils go back some two to five million years, putting them in the Pliocene Era. They have a history of close associations with humankind and were trained by man for hunting as long ago as 3,000 BC. However, in the early 1970s, conservationists reported that the cheetah was slipping towards extinction, together with some other species of wild animals in Africa, mainly due to the destruction of their habitat as a result of farming practices.  Attempts to ensure the survival of the cheetah developed spontaneously into two broad fields of activity: one to conserve the free-ranging population and the other to breed cheetahs in captivity.  Samara’s main objective is the former.

Sarah Tompkins, owner of the Samara Private Game Reserve alongside husband Mark explains: “Only one in five cheetah cubs are female, so we felt it extremely important to protect her.  When she is old enough, she will be rehabilitated and released back into the wild to lead what we hope will be a long and productive life.  Cheetahs are an endangered species and much of the conservation work here at Samara aims to build their numbers so that these magnificent creatures can be released again into the wild and reign again in the Great Karoo of South Africa.

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 The  Samara Private Game Reserve was bought by English couple Mark and Sarah Tompkins in 1997. Their dream was to amass enough land to have a self-sustaining eco-system that would carry game, the herds of antelope that used to inhabit this area, and the predators to keep the balance that helps maintain these fragile eco-systems. The reserve sits in South Africa’s Eastern Cape.

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