19 September 2023

Eswatini: Cheetah spotted for the first time in over 30 years!

The Times of Swaziland, a daily newspaper in Eswatini (formerly called Swaziland), is reporting that a cheetah has been spotted in Eswatini for the first time in over 30 years. According to the newspaper, the aninmal was spotted by rangers at around 15:00 on 16 September 2023 during a game drive in the Mlawula Nature Reserve in the country's Lubombo Region. The Times of Swaziland is quoting the Director of Parks at the Eswatini National Trust Commission (ENTC), Thulani Methula, saying that cheetahs were thought to be a locally extinct species around the 1970s but said four more cheetahs were reintroduced between 1988 and 1990 at a place called Mapelepele at Mlawula (Nature Reserve). He further said that the last sighting of a cheetah in the Eswatini was in 1991. The ENTC has since installed cameras around the area the cheetah was spotted in the Mlawula Nature Reserve to find out if it is a single animal or a family of cheetahs that has moved into the area. We'll keep you posted!

Photo (taken in Kruger National Park) by Ron Ansell on Unsplash

The Mlawula Nature Reserve is located in the Lubombo Region in north-eastern Eswatini about 100km from Manzini. The Nature Reserve is covering an area of approximately 16,500 hectares and is adjacent to Mbuluzi Game Reserve, Simunye Nature Reserve, and Hlane Royal National Park. According to ENTC's website, the Mlawula Nature Reserve "offers rare opportunities for visitors to walk self-guided on the trails through the bushveld".

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