Conservation At Our Core
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 under 7,000, 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 to urgently unite their efforts to reverse these declining numbers.
Cheetah Experience Ashia and Bloemfontein are dedicated to fighting for the future survival of the cheetah by focusing on education and research, which involves linking conservation and human welfare.
To This End, We Strive To:
- Link Wildlife Conservation and Human Welfare by raising awareness for South African wildlife and educating adolescents, especially those from underprivileged and marginalised communities in South Africa.
- Create job opportunities for adolescents in the field of conservation and in wildlife reserves.
- Provide financial support for training adolescents, as well as scholarships for South African students, in the field of conservation and animal healthcare.
- Participate and financially support the re-introduction of endangered species, especially cheetah, into the protected wild.
- Raise funds to support the above objectives and collaborate with other organisations which share the same objectives.
Through Our Cheetah Conservation Initiatives We Endeavour 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 their long term survival.
- Provide local and international volunteers with 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, the third largest 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)
Their 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, have resulted in stabilised populations in Namibia.