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Brandy, the pregnant leopard that was snared in the Magaliesberg two weeks ago, has been released back into the wild.

Ever since her capture and treatment, the team involved has been determined to give her and her three cubs the best possible chance of survival in the wild.

It took the combined effort of the following organisations and sponsors to carry out this remarkable feat:

John Power, Directorate: Biodiversity Management, North West Provincial Government
Dr Paul Bartels, Veterinarian, Department Nature Conservation, Tshwane University of Technology 
The Wildlife and Environment Society of SA (WESSA)
Drs Katja Koeppel & Francois Le Grange, veterinarians of the Johannesburg Zoological Gardens
Tokkie Botes, Helicopter owner and pilot
Frank Molteno, Helicopter pilot

The saga first started two weeks ago when Power confirmed that Brandy was caught in a snare in the Magaliesberg and requested the assistance of Dr Bartels to assist in her capture and treatment.

Dr Bartels determined that Brandy required urgent veterinary medical treatment and was then airlifted to the Charlotte Maxeke Johannesburg Academic Hospital’s heli-pad where Johannesburg Zoo veterinary personnel collected her.

Drs Koeppel and Le Grange treated Brandy and recently pronounced her ready for release back into the wild.

On Sunday the operation literally took-off, with military precision, where Power, Molteno and Drs Bartels and Le Grange airlifted Brandy from Johannesburg and flew her to her new release site in North West province.

Brandy was fitted with a satellite collar and will be monitored by Power. It is unsure how the stress of being snared and injured will affect her pregnancy, however the team felt that it was important to get her back into the wild as soon as her wounds had healed sufficiently well so as to give her a best shot at survival in the wild.

A programme to rid the Magaliesberg of snares has been launched by WESSA and the Tshwane University of Technology.

Bob Boden provided emergency communications between the field team and the Johannesburg Zoological Gardens.

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