Our veterinarian arrived shortly after sunrise and he and Andre Grobler set out to locate the cheetahs brothers after their most recent whereabouts were called in by our counter poaching rangers 30 minutes earlier. They had moved off about 1.5 kilometres further and were resting.
A dart was prepared and the cheetahs, expecting another free meal had moved right up to Andre and the veterinarian. In actual fact they were so close that the male with the injured eye could be darted using a blow pipe.
Soon he was fast asleep with his two brothers by his side. It took some persuasion to get them to move a bit further away as the sleeping brother was picked up and moved to the vehicles where the examination of the eye was to take place.
Unfortunately the prognosis was not good. The eye had been damaged; possibly during a hunt by a branch or thorn and was badly infected. The chance of saving the eye and in particular the sight was slim, but the vet left it safe to leave the eye intact and see what would happen.
Surgery to remove the protruding section was done of the back of our vehicle. Antibiotics were administered and cheetah placed in shade to recover where its brothers soon joined him; guarding him and waiting for him to recover fully from the immobilizing drugs.
Two hours later he was 100% fine and disappeared into the bush with his siblings.