TEXT: Natasha Britz
PHOTOGRAPH: Henco Bantjes
CCF staff and guests and more recently Erindi have grown to love Chanel and the 3 Chocolate Sister, a group of 4 female cheetah that were relocated into the wild of Erindi in late 2010.
The group has done incredibly well over the past year in their new home even with all the challenges of a new life in the wild among all other large carnivores. The girls have completely sustained themselves hunting mostly oryx calves and they were noted by CCF members to have grown in physical size possibly due to muscles developed during their hunting.
In early November 2011 after almost a year of freedom, signal from the tracking collar of one of the Chocolate Sisters – Nestlé, was noted to be a few hundred meters from the rest of the group. This was the first time that the girls had separated and very sadly, Nestlé’s lifeless body was found.
Nestlé was always known to be the protector of the group especially when they were at kills…”
Nestlé had sustained an injury on her shoulder and in her groin but unfortunately her cause of death remains unknown. Hyena tracks indicated that scavengers had investigated the area but it is not thought that they were culprits. Nestlé was always known to be the protector of the group especially when they were at kills but it definitely was noted that the entire group of 4 all worked together to capture prey, especially young oryx as the adult oryx were seen on many occasions to defend their young aggressively against the hunting cheetah group.
Erindi would like to pay a special tribute to the wild life that Nestlé was able to have and certainly she thrived on. She is certainly being missed by Chanel and her 2 sisters as the remaining group has been noted to be struggling with their hunting since they lost her but Nestlé died a wild warrioress and thanks to CCF especially, she was given the best life possible.