Njozi, a cheetah from the Rietvlei Nature Reserve, has escaped through a small hole in the fence on Tuesday, 4 May and has still not been found. The reserve is located in Pretoria and is about 4000 hectares in size.
The City of Tshwane released a statement on Thursday, warning visitors to the Rietveli Nature Reserve and residents in the surrounding areas to be on the lookout for the cheetah.
The wildcat was introduced to the reserve by Endangered Wildlife Trust (EWT) as a conservation project to enhance the numbers of the species.
“It is not clear how the animal escaped, however, it is believed that it made use of a hole underneath the fence dug by smaller animals,” the City of Tshwane said.
The fence surrounding the reserve is electrified, and with daily patrols, but the animal still managed to make its way out.
“The first sighting of the cheetah outside the nature reserve was reported to the nature reserve management by an adjacent landowner,” the statement read.
Management tracked the spoor and confirmed it was the cheetah, but it is yet to be captured.
Even though the animal has a neck collar on for tracking purposes, once it is out of range it makes the signal hard to find.
An extensive search is being carried out to find Njozi and return it safely to the reserve. Neighbouring farms and communities have been cautioned. A vet is also on standby to tranquillise the cheetah once it has been located.
Visitors and members of the public are advised to report sightings of the cheetah to 082 322 5639.