Godfrey Baloyi, Operations Manager, master guide and Pafuri lover recaps that moment when Cheetah’s returned to visit Pafuri. This is the first time that they have been seen since 2007.
The month of June month is regarded as youth month in South Africa. Different people, young and old, praise what they have achieved in the past as a youngster. As most South Africans were celebrating Youth Day, all of us in the Pafuri region in the north of the Kruger National Park were also celebrating. The first Cheetah sighting in 10 years. The Makuleke people were forcefully removed from Pafuri in 1969 and retained their land from the Kruger Park in 1998 and we decided to use the land for what we call Eco-Tourism. Cheetahs were first seen in the area in 2007. They stayed in Makuleke for at least a week before they decided to go back to the south of the Park.
10 years later, a coalition of 4 Cheetahs were seen by Pafuri Camp guides on the 15 June 2017 and again on the 16 June 2017. When the guides called in the sighting on the radio no one really believed them, it was like a joke. I then asked one of the guides to take pictures and when I saw those pictures I couldn’t believe my eyes and I remember saying yes yes yes, more than 10 times and one of the guests asked me ‘Godfrey are you ok?’ and I said, ‘of course, yes My Lord.’ They probably thought I was crazy. All our guests at camp saw the magnificent Cheetah’s and again saw them the following morning. They even saw the Cheetah’s stalking zebras, wow!!!!!!!!!!!
Cheetahs are classified as vulnerable by the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. With around 10,000–12,000 individuals left in the wild, cheetahs are Africa’s most endangered big cat. Actually, they are the most threatened carnivore after the African Wild Dog. There are about 1000 Cheetahs left in South Africa and less than 500 in Kruger National Park.
Historically, cheetahs have been hunted for their fur, but today some of the biggest threats to their survival are loss of habitat, and competition for resources. Cheetahs require large areas of land for survival.
I must say that we are so lucky to have Cheetahs in this region and I just wish they can be with us for much longer period. Halala Pafuri halala!!!!!!!! Wratig pragtig man.
Article: Godfrey Baloyi