at Cheetah Experience Ashia
In December 2016 cheetah population figures were revised, showing alarmingly dwindling numbers. As a result the cheetah is now very much facing a race for survival.
The best estimates put world population numbers at 6,500, down from around 100,000 at the end of 1900. Due to the species’ dramatic decline, researchers are calling for the cheetah to be up-listed from ‘Vulnerable’ to ‘Endangered’ on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Cheetah conservation projects need urgently to unite their efforts to reverse the declining numbers.
Cheetah Experience Ashia and Bloemfontein are dedicated to fighting for the future survival of the cheetah by focusing in particular on education and research.
To this end, we strive to:
Ethically conserve the cheetah species and protect it from further endangerment or extinction.To educate and raise awareness amongst students and the general public of the dangers that the cheetah faces, along with the efforts that can be made to reduce these threats.
Advance knowledge about cheetah’s health, fertility and genetics through the ethical research conducted in our facilities.
Offer university internships and research opportunities to students, and work together with universities and other conservation projects to better understand the plight that the cheetah faces, and work towards the long term survival of the cheetah.
Provide local and international volunteers an unforgettable opportunity to work closely with cheetahs, contribute to the conservation of this precious species, and promote the conservation of the cheetah in their own communities.
Provide a facility for hand-raised ambassador cheetahs and a safe sanctuary for retired animals or those that need special care.
Support future genetic diversity of the cheetah through DNA Testing and breeding in scientifically based ethical programmes.
Reasons for Hope
In South Africa all that cheetahs are left with are fragments of natural habitat. As a result wildlife reserves are fenced to guarantee limited human movement, cut down poaching and snaring and thus
creating a safe space not only for cheetahs but all of our few remaining wildlife. The disadvantage of fencing is a limited gene flow. In order to prevent inbreeding cheetah individuals have to be swapped between reserves.
This approach proves to be working as the cheetah population in South Africa is up to about 1,200 cheetahs, the third largest population worldwide. In fact, South Africa is the only country, worldwide, with an increase in wild cheetah numbers. (Excerpt from: Cheetah Matchmaking: Helping Big Cats Find a Mate; “Cat Watch” by National Geographic, February 21, 2017)
The cheetah’s future may look dim, but conservationists are constantly working to lessen the decline in other areas/countries as well. In the early 1990’s, for example conservationists began educating livestock farmers around Namibia about how to reduce cheetah/livestock interactions and teaching farmers how to avoid conflict through breeding schedules and the use of guard dogs to protect livestock as alternatives to resorting to the rifle.
These efforts, along with stronger enforcement of endangered species and anti-poaching laws and habitat restoration for the cheetah, have resulted in stabilized populations in Namibia.