THE END OF ANOTHER HERO! SAYING FAREWELL TO TONGS AND HER 4 CUBS!Some time during the night of the 4th or very early on the 5th – TONGS and all 4 of her cubs were killed by an un-collared male leopard.
She was bravely defending her cubs – but what defence does a cheetah have against a leopard unless they run for their lives – which she obviously did not want to do!?!
Team AfriCat spent yesterday trying to find cub 4 – because there was no trace of it – but sadly no good news there.
Not only was her den (nr4) visited by this leopard – there was an earlier stand-off between an Eland and Tongs as well – deep tracks of the Eland mock-charging and then Tongs obviously defending the area – that time successfully!
WHY did this happened?? Nature can be cruel! Was she too old – she turned 8 in May this yr? Perhaps younger mothers are more afraid and run when there is trouble – she’s never learnt that.
Why did she not move her den more often? Why did she defend to the end, instead of running away? The questions are many – but in the end when a larger carnivore discovers a den – its over, especially when the cubs are not big enough to run and hide. They were 4 days short of turning 1 month old!
The secret of any cheetah cub making it to adulthood – is NOT to be discovered at first . . . and if u can run – NOT to try and defend yourself! Your only hope is your speed and then allot of luck thrown in there!
TONGS and her brother Hammer were captured by a farmer after he shot their mother. The siblings were around a year at the time and they spent another year at the farm before AfriCat was contacted to come and collect them.
During their time in captivity they had become used to people and as a result could not be released onto farmland, but both showed a wild instinct and TONGS was the one that constantly escaped her captive area to go on private hunts – she’d had a few kills by the time she was actually officially released in the Okonjima Reserve in July 2010.
R.I.P – Brave TONGS! You have done us proud!
We will not forget you.
AfriCat and all your fans!