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Toki Update

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Toki Update

Post  Doogs on Thu Feb 10, 2011 1:55 pm

This is from Wildlife Whisperer dated 05/02/2011 :-

Toki Update - January 2011

Toki the cheetah Cheetah orphan and his brother changed our lives. Back in December 2002, we had the good fortune to meet the brothers shortly after they were brought into the care of Lewa Wildlife Conservancy in Kenya. What followed was a two year rollercoaster journey of emotion and adventure as we helped raise the boys and reintroduce them to the wild. All went well until one fateful night when Sambu, the braver and more robust of the two, was killed by a lion Sad

Toki, and we, were devastated. We tried for months to help Toki get back on his feet in Lewa, but after a near fatal attack from a resident coalition of three powerful adult male cheetahs, we decided to move Toki to the relative security of a vast enclosure on the nearby reserve Ol Pejeta. And it is where he has enjoyed living for the past five years.

The boma, as it is known, is a 4,000 acre fenced area that is, in principle, predator proof. However it is home to a wide variety of herbivores including zebra, impala, duiker and dik-dik, all perfect prey for a lone male cheetah. From December 2005 up to the end of 2009, Toki enjoyed a peaceful, if solitary existence, in this safe zone, fending entirely for himself and sleeping off his meals.

In January 2010 I visited the boma, hoping not so much to see Toki (by now he had become wary of human visitors and I did not want to undo many months of work that had successfully broken his bond with people), but rather to check that all was well with him.

What I found was shocking. There, fresh in the dust along the inside of the fence-line, were the pug-marks of a big cat, but this was no cheetah footprint. This was the mark of a leopard. A large male leopard at that. My mind raced. How had this cat entered the predator proof fence? Was there a gap and if so was Toki still inside the boma that had become not so safe all of a sudden? I had to leave Kenya soon after my visit, but not before talking with the Wildlife and Security department of Ol Pejata and hatching a plan to find some answers. Soon after my January trip, a search of the boma was conducted by a large number of security staff, and the sweep offered up good news. Toki was seen in thick bush country, running away from the approaching men on foot. No other cat had been spotted. Perhaps this meant that the leopard had gone and that Toki had his secure kingdom back to himself.

I kept in touch with Ol Pej and Stephen Yaisoi, the ranger who had helped with Toki’s welfare for the past eight years, and it was decided that a camera trap should be placed near the perimeter fence to try and get documentary evidence of Toki’s condition.

Again, the results were shocking. Along with images of zebra and other herbivores were those of a spotted cat. Not Toki, but a leopard, a large male leopard. It was clear that Toki was sharing his world with this larger more powerful hunter and that its presence was preventing him from patrolling the enclosure edge.

It was not until Decemebr 2010 that I was able to return to Kenya and visit Ol Pejeta. With the invaluable help of the security services on the Conservancy, we mounted a major search of the boma with the hope of finding some sign that Toki was alive and well.

After ten hours, with twenty-five men conducting a search through very thick bush country, we turned up no sign whatsoever of any large predator within the enclosure. On the one hand this was terribly disappointing. I had of course hoped that we would be able to confirm Toki’s wellbeing. On the other, it left a ray of hope. With no evidence of his death, no bones, no remains of any kind, it was just possible he had left the boma by whatever method the leopard had been coming and going, and was alive, but ranging free. And that is where we stand today. If free ranging, we would have expected a sighting of Toki through the guides and security staff on Ol Pejeta, though with at least 33 cheetah now living wild on Ol Pejeta ,there is room for confusion. There is also a strong likelihood that if Toki did leave the enclosure, he would have avoided already occupied cheetah territories and kept moving. Frankly, the chances of him surviving beyond the fence are low, with community lands, man and his dogs, all trying to scratch a living from the dry northlands. But it is possible.

Realistically, I have little hope that Toki is still living Sad He may have been killed by the leopard and in the tangle of thorn and scrub our search failed to pick up any sign of his body. He may have escaped the boma and been killed by wild male cheetah (two male cheetah have been killed in this way on Ol Pejeta over the past year, neither of them Toki). He may have walked beyond the conservancy, through one of the elephant corridors (as he did when we were working with him there five years ago) and beyond. He may still be there. For some time he has not worn an active radio collar. The decision was made to minimise his interaction with human beings and let him lead a natural life, peaceful and undisturbed. He has done this for the past four years.

In the wild, the vast majority of cheetahs do not make it past their first birthday, and very few make it beyond their third. That Toki has lived for at least eight years is testament to the care and support of Lewa and Ol Pejeta Wildlife Conservancies :) His legacy is to have increased awareness and brought much needed financial support to the reserves and in so doing helped all the wildlife there. In Ol Pejeta the cheetah population alone has grown from twelve animals when Toki first arrived five years ago, to thirty three today.

His legacy to us has been invaluable, learning about the specifics surrounding the rehabilitation of large predators in East Africa, but a great deal more from an emotional and moral standpoint. I will end this report by quoting Stephen, who shared his thoughts with us after we searched in vain for Toki in December.

“He has taught me so much. He taught me to stand up for myself and not to depend on others or expect others to help me survive. Toki was a survivor" I love you Like a Star @ heaven I love you
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Re: Toki Update

Post  Guest on Thu Feb 10, 2011 3:27 pm

Thanks for the update Doogs


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Re: Toki Update

Post  Laikipia on Thu Feb 10, 2011 4:26 pm

What an update - it must be hard for Simon to realise that Toki may be dead after all his time spent rearing and nurturing him.

Thanks for posting Doogs.

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Re: Toki Update

Post  Doogs on Thu Feb 10, 2011 4:45 pm

I know it's quite sad but he may be still alive, you never know.

If he is dead at least he got to lead a pretty normal cheetah life as opposed to being caged up somewhere after their mother was killed by a lion. At least he got that chance.

We will never forget him and Sambu and the programmes of Simon hand rearing them, looking after them teaching them how to hunt then releasing them into the wild which was both wonderful I love you and terribly sad after what happened to Sambu Sad
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Re: Toki Update

Post  Guest on Fri Feb 11, 2011 1:58 am

I agree with you Doogs, he could be still alive

Even a couple of years in the wild must be better than life in a cage, but still I would have loved them to have found him



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Re: Toki Update

Post  whitestarling on Fri Feb 11, 2011 6:51 am

True Doogs, but at least they got some time in the Wild, and who knows Toki may still be around some where. Thanks for posting
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Re: Toki Update

Post  littlewid on Fri Feb 11, 2011 8:56 pm

That was an emotional read Doogs, so it's hard to imagine how Simon must have felt, although he is always so practical. I am hoping that Toki is still alive especially as they haven't found any evidence of his death.
Toki and Sambu have been so special to so many people it will be a sad day if Toki has gone but as Simon and others have said, at least Toki did get to live relatively free and safe and enjoy his life rather than being caged.
I am still keeping my fingers crossed even if it's not a realistic hope.

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re toki

Post  muggins on Mon Jul 25, 2011 5:10 am

I was overjoyed and deeply touched while watching your Nature programme on the orphaned cheetah cubs. That there is this kind of care and concern, and that there appear to be so many who are assisting in the regeneration and support of our amazing world of animals is enormously heartening to me, and I am sure to many.
With big thanks, and much gratitude for exposing the love connection, human to animal, and most beautifully, animal to human, in this world we share together. It gives me hope, and a positive vision of our potential future.

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Re: Toki Update

Post  sambu on Tue Jul 26, 2011 9:03 pm

Taki is a magnificent animal. The whole point was missed. Taki was meant to be with Simon and humans - as a companion. That's why they found us. We were a sort of gift to man kind. There are 12999 wild cheetahs scrummaging around the continent trying to eke out an existence. Yet there was only one Taki with such a disposition. Our species won't be around much longer. Unfortunately they couldn't see the forest through the trees. Always believing that they know what is best. Taki was really a big baby. A real same that they kept pushing him out. The animal was so content to be w/ simon and the kenyan handler - it was pretty obvious was it not? It's a darn shame what happened. It didn't have to be that way.

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Re: Toki Update

Post  Doogs on Tue Jul 26, 2011 10:01 pm

Sambu, I think it's a matter of opinion about Toki.

I personally think they did the right thing by releasing him into the wild. Yes Simon did a great job raising Toki & Sambu and yes they were obviously content with him but the ultimate contentment for me is for the cheetah to be out in the wild where it belongs.

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Re: Toki Update

Post  whitestarling on Thu Jul 28, 2011 11:08 am

I have to agree with Doogs. No Wild Animal is born to be a companion to a Human being, and Human beings are not born to be a personal guardian of a Wild Animal. Cats like Toki, and Sambu were born to roam their own habitat, to pass on their Genes, to revel in the chase of their prey. In other words they were born to be free. Humans have not become personal guardians of Wild Animals, but because of the actions of past generations, and current, we have become guardians of Wild Animals habitats, their defenders from poachers, and abuse, to help where we can, but at no point should we loose sight of their basic rights. Born To Be Free.

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Re: Toki Update

Post  billtwo2 on Thu Jul 28, 2011 7:59 pm

Well, I have watched the documentary twice in the past week as it is really very fascinating... Like you, I can only hope that Toki is still out there somewhere and free as can be even though the evidence (or lack thereof) may be demonstrating the opposite to be true... In any event, there will never be another Toki for you, and in all likelihood, for us... Thank you for the hard work that you performed for us all...

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Re: Toki Update

Post  radhu on Sun Mar 04, 2012 6:54 pm

yes i agree 100% that he deserved to live in the wild and not in the company of humans...
Simon king have done a excellent job in hand rearing Toki and Sambu,but sadly nothing can match the care given by their original mom...

i loved the documentary and the dedication of Simon...it was heart breaking to see the tears in his eyes when sambu met the same fate as his mother...

hope Toki is fine somewhere,hope he met his soul mate or a friend and a new meaning to his life....keep us updated about the status if anyone hear about it
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Re: Toki Update

Post  whitestarling on Sun Mar 04, 2012 6:59 pm

Will do Radhu, but sadly I think we will here no more about Toki, but at least he had his chance at a proper life
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Re: Toki Update

Post  radhu on Sun Mar 04, 2012 8:53 pm

Sad
yea may be....but as you said atleast he had a chanse..

i have no idea y lions kill cheetahs ...in a competition for prey??
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Re: Toki Update

Post  whitestarling on Sun Mar 04, 2012 11:55 pm

Its a fact of life in the Wild Radhu, predators will kill other predators if they can, so that it lessens the competition for food. Lions will kill Cheetahs, and Hyena, also Leopads if they get the chance. Hyenas will kill Cheetahs as well, as they are the smallest of the Big Cats they are bottom of the pile when it comes being attacked, and harrased when they have made a kil, they very rarely get to eat it all.
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Re: Toki Update

Post  radhu on Mon Mar 05, 2012 2:43 am

yea sad though...i remember a documentary where a lion steals a cheetahs hard earned meal...theaf in animal world Very Happy

in leopard son documentary i watched the leopard sons mom killed by lions...it was very sad...well again laws of nature...cant help it



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Re: Toki Update

Post  RMorr50912 on Mon Mar 05, 2012 6:26 am

Hey everybody, I just prefer to remember the end of Toki"s Tale when Simon says that Toki still lives in the reserve to this day.I had only recently seen it when I found the update about his disappearance. I prefer to think he found his way though I know the odds are not in his favor. No proof either way so I choose to believe he hasn't used up his nine lives. The odds have been against him before and he came out ahead.

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guest.

Post  nannie12 on Fri Sep 07, 2012 8:56 pm

I was so touched by the entire film-of the delightful and cunning youngsters..
Toki and Sambu as small, mischievous, playful kittens...and their
two human "handlers" : Simon and Steven..that I purchased the DVD....
came across it just yesterday and watched it again...and badly needed
to find out Toki's fate...had Simon and Steve managed to find a suitable
mate for him,? and so on. of course, was sad to hear that Toki couldn't
be found...but there is a slim chance, I gather, that he could have survived.
Was also very touched both by Simon's caring--and Steven...With the gentle
Steven still there at the park, I know the animals are in good hands. (i melted
at the site of Steven lying down next to Toki at night in his own blanket..
to provide some kind of companionship for Toki. Another
plus: I will never mix up a Cheetah with any other big cat...and African Wildlife
sites are one of my first sites for donations.....9.7.12...I will also vote Democratic..
I think there're the most concerned re. the environment. Ruthanna

.

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Re: Toki Update

Post  whitestarling on Fri Sep 07, 2012 11:22 pm

Thanks for popping into the Forum, and leaving your comments on Toki. It really is a very special story and shows the love that Simon and, Steven have for Wildlife. It's the only time I've seen Simon in tears he was so very emotional about their fate. There is certainly a chance that Toki survived, and perhaps found a mate, as there has never been any news to the contary. It's something we all want to believe

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Re: Toki Update

Post  littlewid on Sun Sep 09, 2012 5:20 pm

Hello nannie12

I would like to echo WS's thanks for taking the time to visit the forum and to leave a message, it is much appreciated.

Like everyone else, I too am hoping that Toki is still out there I love you

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Re: Toki Update

Post  cheetah12 on Sun Oct 28, 2012 9:51 pm

I hope they find him if he is alive. Crying or Very sad

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Re: Toki Update

Post  whitestarling on Sun Oct 28, 2012 11:02 pm

So do we all Cheetah, although time is passing. At least we know that he got to spend some time of his life, as he should do as a Wild Cheetah. It's amazing how many people lives Toki's story has touched, and still continues to raise emotions in people.
Thanks for your comment, look forward to hearing from you soon
WS
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Re: Toki Update

Post  littlewid on Mon Oct 29, 2012 9:48 pm

Hi Cheeth12
It would be wonderful if Toki was found alive. So many people are rooting for him and would so love to hear news that he is still with us.

Thanks for coming on and leaving your comment. Welcome to the forum Very Happy

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Toki Tale Inspires

Post  T/Sbros on Wed Dec 26, 2012 1:39 am

I remember seeing the PBS Special on Toki and Sambu, came across this remarkable story during my vacation. I bought the DVD and then went online to get an update. I think animals teach us so much about loyalty, courage, and sacrifice. I too, hope, that Toki still lives, defying the odds, and raising a family of champions of survival. Thank you SK for a wonderful story, capitivating and heart-breaking as it is...but one that lifts the spirit.

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