Small-spotted Genet Cats – Soft release at Jabulani – November 2018
A few months ago, HESC was approached to assist with three small-spotted genet kittens that had been found in the Sabi Sands. They were approximately a week old at the time, and could fit inside the palm of a hand.
Lente Roode naturally accepted them, and hand-reared them for a while before then letting assistant curator, Natasha Roscherr, take on the responsibility, which she did successfully.
Once they were strong enough, we took them to the general managers at Camp Jabulani, Stefan and Chantel Du Toit, who both started their careers at HESC many years ago, and now manage this luxury lodge that sustains a herd of rescued elephants.
They were taken to Jabulani so that when they were ready to be released, it would be done in the vicinity of the lodge, so that the team can keep an eye on them as they get used to their environment slowly.
Chantel and Stefan cared for them for a little longer, until we started the process of a soft release.
First we opened up a smaller enclosure for them to be able to move into a bigger enclosure, and get used to that new surrounding, which they did. Then on Monday 5th November, we decided it was time to open the gate to the enclosure, but still leave it open with food readily available for them to eat.
The following day, Tuesday 6th November, only two of the genet cats returned, following their first night with the cage left open.
This morning, Wednesday 8th October, only one has returned. But we are sure they are around the lodge somewhere, and will appear soon.
We will continue to supply food which will only be taken away once we are certain that they are able to hunt on their own be independent of their enclosure.
Genet cat diets normally consists of small mammals and insects. Everything from bats, birds, reptiles, amphibians, millipedes, centipedes and scorpions have been known as frequent food sources.
During our time of caring for them, we have supplied them with small pieces of meat, small birds and reptiles.
The Jabulani staff will continue to monitor the genet cats, to see if they are hunting successfully, which is our biggest concern for their successful survival.
We will be sure to keep you updated.