It is certainly only the beginning of the story when animals are translocated from one part of Africa to another. To be deemed a successful translocation, it is essential that animals settle into their new territory. But how is that determined? Data collected from collars placed on translocated animals enables the Peace Parks team to map the whereabouts of the released animals. It can show up where they are roaming, feeding and which areas of the park they prefer. Over time this collected data can inform future translocations, aiding the decision-making process about where to best release animals and so on.

To make sure they are in good health it is important to also physically check up on the animals, so the team often needs to get on the ground and track animals by foot. As a follow up to the recent cheetah translocation, they are walking in Maputo National Park, attempting to find the recently introduced animals. However, trying to catch up with the fastest animal on earth is not easy! The team tries to track one of the cheetah which stayed fairly close to the holding boma. Walking through thick dune forest in the heat of the African sun is slow going, but if it means a close-up glimpse of a cheetah, it is worth it. Cheetah are in fact one of the big cats that one can get closest to as they don’t pose a threat to humans. Of course, there is always a ranger on hand, as the cheetah share the environment with many animals that prefer to not be in close contact with humans.

Shortly after the release, one of the cheetah managed to slip out of the park, so another group in the north has a visual on the tracks. (Since this film was taken, additional measures have been put in place to ensure the fenceline is now secure). Using telemetry – a system designed to collect information from remote or inaccessible sources – the vet follows the cheetah by picking up signals from its collar. Once located, they signal to a waiting helicopter crew that gently edges the female back into the park. It is essential that translocated animals remain in the protected areas so they are safe and able to thrive, away from potential human-wildlife conflict. Here in Maputo National Park there is plentiful food and a safe environment for the cheetah to make a home.