JOHANNESBURG – A well-known professional hunter is facing criminal charges after he allegedly hunted a collared cheetah which had been released in Botswana by the De Wildt Cheetah and Wildlife Trust.
It had crossed the Botswana border and returned to South Africa, where it was allegedly shot by the hunter and a client from Spain.
A trust spokesman said the female cheetah was one of two that had crossed the border after being "re-wilded" in Botswana.
The other was also shot dead and left to rot near a fence beside a tar road in Swartwater, Limpopo.
The spokesman said both animals were accustomed to humans, and hunting them would be as easy as "clubbing them over the head".
"Information reached us through the farming community that a well-known professional hunter in the Swartwater area had hunted the remaining cheetah female with a client from Spain," said the spokesman.
Both cheetahs were fitted with Satellite/GPS collars, and researchers were able to monitor their movements.
One collar was retrieved next to a tar road near Baltimore in Limpopo, where the professional hunter had allegedly discarded it.
It was still transmitting a strong signal.
Limpopo conservation authorities found the skin of the cheetah at a taxidermist in Ellisras.
"It was confiscated and the professional hunter was arrested.
"He admitted guilt after being questioned," said the spokesman.
The hunter will be brought before a magistrate on Thursday.