There’s a hive of activity this morning, excitement fills the air with the familiar sound of our teams rushing around putting final preparations in place before the BIG arrival.
The big arrival of WHAT or WHOM you may ask?
Today marks the arrival of a BIG idea that started off as a brief conversation more than 2 years ago. A dream has come together through endless effort, perseverance, and the generous support of our hunters – yes, without the following people we would not have reached this point. A special mention and word of thanks goes out to:
- Eric, Kristie, Hunter & Kasey Arnette
- Bertil Friman
- Benny Fredrickson
- Uno Kristianson
- Thomas Nyden
- Bjorn Hagman
- Martin Osthulm
- Brett Nelson
- Jeff Edland
- Chad Badger
- Dennis & Nan Robberg
- Brian Nelson
- Joe Kapaun
- Brian Gebeke
Never did I imagine that a simple passing comment to our head ranger, Kelly Pote, would see the realization of a project of this magnitude.
Kelly is no ordinary individual. Passionate best describes Kelly when it comes to her love for Lalibela, and her day-to-day running of the wildlife on the reserve. For those who’ve had the privilege of meeting her will vouch for her passion and what she’s about – more importantly, they’ll tell you how persistent and dedicated she can be when she sets her heart on something as important as wildlife.
It was with this in mind and the funding of John X Safaris hunters that we’re proud to announce the BIG arrival of our first breeding pair of Serval and the launch of “The Small Cats Conservation Project.”
The original idea of the program was to breed small cats in captivity, keeping them in an as wild a state as possible, and then releasing their off spring back onto the reserve. With their off spring we’re hoping to boost and fast track the current free roaming populations that were eradicated in the days of small stock farming, and to diversify the current blood lines on the reserve and conserve the species for future generations.
Over the past few months our teams have had their hands full preparing for the arrival of our first Serval. After a great deal of planning and sourcing of Serval, we managed to locate two breeding pairs to kick off the project. We then took the necessary steps and built adequate enclosures where the cats will be housed whilst breeding.
Each enclosure has a feeding point through which live prey will be released in order for the Serval to hunt and kill naturally. As an additional food source we have constructed a small pond in each enclosure that will be stocked with small fish, one of the Servals’ favorite food sources. These ponds, as well as built-in bird feeders will attract a variety of bird species which make up a large portion of a Servals diet. The enclosure will furthermore be home to a natural food source such as rodents, small reptiles, and arthropods.
What a day it turned out to be!
The immediate goal of our project is to see our Serval breeding successfully, and then when the young have been weaned, to see them released onto the reserve, to further reproduce in their natural habitat. At that point we would consider collaring a number of young female Serval in order to track and observe their movements and monitor their success and survival rate, as they will have to endure competition in the midst of other predators. Collars would additionally give us insight to their birth rate, as well as enable us to learn more about their social structure and general habits in their natural environment.
Anyone interested in getting on board and funding the first collar/s or being involved in the next step of the project with the introduction of the first Black Footed and African Wild Cat to our Small Cats Conservation Project, feel free to contact us on firstname.lastname@example.org Any funding will be greatly appreciated, with donors being recognized on a formal “Honoury Donors” board at the small cats enclosures. Companies feel free to contact us regards corporate sponsorship.