In The Press

Ashia’s Cheetah Breeding, Wilding and Release Project, financed and managed by Ashia and Kuzuko Lodge, went into operation in September 201

June 24, 2019

Ashia, a world-class and Fair Trade Tourism accredited cheetah sanctuary outside Paarl in South Africa’s Western Cape, is now offering volunteers on their education-based volunteering programme the opportunity to live their conservation dream and get involved in the wilding and release of cheetahs into the protected wild of South African private game reserves…

Ashia Cheetah Sanctuary and Awareness Centre offers the opportunity to participate in a ground-breaking conservation programme.

June 2019: Ashia, a world-class and Fair Trade Tourism accredited cheetah sanctuary outside Paarl in South Africa’s Western Cape, is now offering volunteers on their education-based volunteering programme the opportunity to live their conservation dream and get involved in the wilding and release of cheetahs into the protected wild of South African private game reserves.

Ashia’s Breeding, Wilding and Release Project, financed and managed by Ashia and Kuzuko Lodge, went into operation in September 2018 with the release of a captive born female cheetah on Kuzuko, a 15,000ha private game reserve in the Eastern Cape. Since then, more captive-born cats have been translocated to Kuzuko to undergo their wilding and fitness programme in specially designed wilding sections prior to their final release on other reserves. Two litters of cubs have already been born into the protected wild on the reserve from previously hand-raised females. Once grown up, having been raised by their mothers, they will also be released on other reserves.

“Our conservation efforts primarily focus on the wilding and introduction of captive-bred cheetahs into the protected wild. The ultimate purpose is to strengthen the gene pool and to secure a viable cheetah metapopulation in South Africa, in order to prevent the further decline of cheetah numbers in the wild,” states Chantal Rischard, founder and co-owner of Ashia. Several cheetahs are earmarked each year for wilding and release onto private game reserves in South Africa.

Ashia now offers the opportunity to get involved in its cheetah conservation efforts. Volunteers will first work alongside sanctuary staff in Paarl to get the necessary experience and training for their volunteering time in the field of South African game reserves. Depending on the stage of the yearly release efforts, they will either assist in accompanying the cheetahs to the reserve, help with their settling in boma period, or later, monitor and record their movements, behaviour as well as hunting and breeding successes. Additionally, they will support the game reserve’s predator team with boma, fence and general reserve maintenance or bush clearing. During educational sessions at Paarl and the reserve, volunteers will gain a deeper insight into Cheetah Conservation and other wildlife.

Interested volunteers should be available for a minimum 3 to 4-week period, which will include at least a week in a game reserve. As such volunteering could require a lot of driving; interested parties should therefore ideally hold an international driver’s license.

For those with less time available, Ashia offers additional flexible volunteering programmes at the sanctuary in Paarl (near Cape Town), ranging in time from 2 weeks to several months. Furthermore, opportunities for internships are also available. Ashia’s luxurious Volunteer House can accommodate up to 12 volunteers and offers sweeping views over the cheetah camps, orchards and the dramatic Drakenstein mountains. Two spacious, modern cottages next to the Volunteer House offer more privacy for those wishing to spend a Working Holiday at the sanctuary. This allows the flexibility to choose if, and when, guests want to participate in the usual daily volunteer duties and social activities.

A favourite quote for the Volunteer team is a Chinese proverb that states: “Tell me and I’ll forget; Show me and I may remember; Involve me and I’ll understand”, forming the foundation of the volunteering programme and the legacy they hope to leave for future generations.

2019 Prices start at ZAR 19 250 for the 3 week release programme and includes accommodation, 2 meals daily, all training material, Wifi, laundry services and 2 Ashia t-shirts.

Please contact volunteers@ashia.co.za for detailed information.

protective cheetah mother with her newborn cubs

June 24, 2019

The four cubs were birthed by another captive-born female cheetah who forms part of this ground-breaking conservation programme, having arrived at Kuzuko Lodge earlier this year already pregnant. The first-time feline mom delivered all four cubs successfully, however after a short while the project team, who had been keeping an eye on her from a distance, noticed that the cubs were not feeding…

Cheetah cubs born at Kuzuko Lodge

The second litter of cheetah cubs has successfully been born into the protected wild of Kuzuko Lodge as part of the joint “Breeding, Wilding and Release Project”, set up by Ashia Cheetah Conservation and Kuzuko Lodge, part of the Legacy Hotels & Resorts Group, in 2018.

The four cubs were birthed by another captive-born female cheetah who forms part of this ground-breaking conservation programme, having arrived at Kuzuko Lodge earlier this year already pregnant.

The first-time feline mom delivered all four cubs successfully, however after a short while the project team, who had been keeping an eye on her from a distance, noticed that the cubs were not feeding.

 

Not wanting to interfere too quickly, the team decided to give them a couple of hours to see whether some privacy would assist with their bonding.

When the team returned and the cubs were still bundled together, it was time to intervene. It was discovered that the umbilical cord had intertwined the cubs together, not allowing them the freedom to feed.

The very protective mother was lured away with food and the cubs quickly released from the cord.

 

Despite being a first-time mom the female immediately took the cubs back and within no time they started suckling successfully. According to the team at Kuzuko, the are doing very well and have already tripled in size.

“These four cubs are extremely important to us as they represent 1.2% of the current cheetah metapopulation management programme. It was an exceptionally tough decision but in the end we are glad that we intervened when we saw the problem with the umbilical cord, and even more so that we placed them back with their mother. We are proud of the fact that the cheetah cubs born on Kuzuko will be raised by their mothers and not by the human hand,” says Gerhard de Lange, reserve general manager at Kuzuko Lodge.

The “Breeding, Wilding and Release Project” conservation programme primarily focuses on the wilding and introduction of captive-bred cheetahs and their offspring into the protected wild.

 

The ultimate purpose is to strengthen the gene pool and to secure a viable cheetah metapopulation in South Africa, in order to prevent the further decline of cheetah numbers in the wild.

“Usually, cub mortality in the wild is extremely high and our first-time mom would be lucky to raise one of her four cubs to adulthood. At Kuzuko, where we established a secure but natural breeding and wilding area, we are trying a new way to enhance the chances for all cubs to reach an age where they can better fend for themselves and are strong and fast enough to escape other predators,” says Chantal Rischard, founder of Ashia.

Once old enough to fend for themselves, these cubs will enter the Cheetah Metapopulation Project, which in turn will identify suitable game reserves to move them to, in order to ensure viable genetic diversity of the species.

Captive-born female cheetah, resting with her newborn cheetah cubs, now part of Breeding, Wilding and Release Project

June 20, 2019

The second litter of cubs has successfully been born at Kuzuko Lodge as part of the joint ‘Breeding, Wilding and Release Project’, set up by Ashia Cheetah Conservation and Kuzuko Lodge. Four cubs were birthed by another captive-born female cheetah who forms part of this ground-breaking conservation programme, The first-time feline mom delivered all four cubs successfully, however after a short while the project team, who had been keeping an eye on her from a distance, noticed that the cubs were not feeding…

Following the milestone birth of the first litter of Cheetah cubs in the wild from a captive-bred female, the second litter of cubs has successfully been born at Kuzuko Lodge as part of the joint ‘Breeding, Wilding and Release Project’, set up by Ashia Cheetah Conservation and Kuzuko Lodge, part of the Legacy Hotels & Resorts Group, in 2018.

The four cubs were birthed by another captive-born female cheetah who forms part of this ground-breaking conservation programme, having arrived at Kuzuko Lodge earlier this year already pregnant. The first-time feline mom delivered all four cubs successfully, however after a short while the project team, who had been keeping an eye on her from a distance, noticed that the cubs were not feeding.

Not wanting to interfere too quickly, the team decided to give them a couple of hours to see whether some privacy would assist with their bonding. When the team returned and the cubs were still bundled together, it was time to intervene. It was discovered that the umbilical cord had intertwined the cubs together, not allowing them the freedom to feed.

The very protective mother was lured away with food and the cubs quickly released from the cord. Despite being a first-time mom the female immediately took the cubs back and within no time they started suckling successfully. According to the team at Kuzuko, they are doing very well and have already tripled in size.

“These four cubs are extremely important to us as they represent 1.2% of the current cheetah metapopulation management programme. It was an exceptionally tough decision but in the end, we are glad that we intervened when we saw the problem with the umbilical cord, and even more so that we placed them back with their mother. We are proud of the fact that the cheetah cubs born on Kuzuko will be raised by their mothers and not by the human hand,” says Gerhard de Lange, reserve general manager at Kuzuko Lodge.

The ‘Breeding, Wilding and Release Project’ conservation programme primarily focuses on the wilding and introduction of captive-bred cheetahs and their offspring into the protected wild. The ultimate purpose is to strengthen the gene pool and to secure a viable cheetah metapopulation in South Africa, in order to prevent the further decline of cheetah numbers in the wild.

“Usually, cub mortality in the wild is extremely high and our first-time mom would be lucky to raise one of her four cubs to adulthood. At Kuzuko, where we established a secure but natural breeding and wilding area, we are trying a new way to enhance the chances for all cubs to reach an age where they can better fend for themselves and are strong and fast enough to escape other predators,” says Chantal Rischard, founder of Ashia.

Once old enough to fend for themselves, these cubs will enter the Cheetah Metapopulation Project, which in turn will identify suitable game reserves to move them to, in order to ensure the viable genetic diversity of the species.

Die jagluiperd is mees bedreigde katspesie in Afrika

June 20, 2019

Toe die span later weer ondersoek ingestel, het die welpies ingeryg by hul ma gelê en gedrink. Hulle het sedertdien goed gegroei, en loop al rond. ”Sy is ‘n goeie ma,” sê De Lange…

4 Jagluiperdwelpies gered

Die span van Kuzuko Lodge, wat die leeu Sylvester suksesvol hervestig het sodat hy nou leier is van ‘n trop van 8 leeus, het onlangs ook vier jagluiperdwelpies van ‘n gewisse dood gered.

Gerhard de Lange van Kuzuko Lodge, het vir Amore Bekker op Tjailatyd vertel hoe dit gebeur het. Hier is die hooftrekke:

Die jagluiperdwyfie en haar vier welpies wat gered is.

Die span by Kuzuko, by die Addo Nasionale Park, was baie opgewonde toe die derde jagluiperdwyfie wat by Kuzuko in die natuur hervestig is, op 25 Mei geboorte skenk aan 4 klein welpies. Dit was die tweede groep welpies wat by Kuzuko in die natuur gebore is van ‘n jagluiperdwyfie wat in die natuur hervestig is.

Die wyfie, wat in aanhouding gebore is, is in Februarie vanjaar hervestig as deel van die Cheetah Breeding, Wilding & Release Project, wat gestig is deur Kuzuko Lodge en die Ashia Cheetah Conservation NPO. Sy het binne dae nadat sy uit ‘n boma in die natuur vrygelaat is, begin jag.

Maar die aanvanklike vreugde oor die geboorte van die vier welpies het algaande plek gemaak vir kommer toe De Lange en sy span sien dat die welpies nie aan haar drink nie. Hulle het besluit om in te gryp, en het die wyfie weggelok, en ondersoek ingestel na die welpies. Hulle het gesien die welpies is baie uitgeteer en kan nie aan haar drink nie, want hulle sit aanmekaar vas omdat hul ma nie hul plasentas alles afgelek kon kry nie.

Volunteers at Ashia Cheetah Sanctuary

June 20, 2019

Depending on the stage of the yearly release efforts, they will either assist in accompanying the cheetahs to the reserve, help with their settling in boma period, or later, monitor and record their movements, behaviour as well as hunting and breeding successes. Additionally, they will support the game reserve’s predator team with boma, fence and general reserve maintenance or bush clearing. During educational sessions at Paarl and the reserve, volunteers will gain a deeper insight into Cheetah Conservation and other wildlife…

Voluntourism At Ashia Cheetah Sanctuary

CAPE TOWN, 20 June 2019 – Ashia, a world-class and Fair Trade Tourism accredited cheetah sanctuary outside Paarl in South Africa’s Western Cape, is now offering volunteers on their education-based volunteering programme the opportunity to live their conservation dream and get involved in the wilding and release of cheetahs into the protected wild of South African private game reserves.

Ashia’s ‘Breeding, Wilding and Release Project’, financed and managed by Ashia and Kuzuko Lodge went into operation in September 2018 with the release of a captive born female cheetah on Kuzuko, a 15,000ha private game reserve in the Eastern Cape.

Since then, more captive-born cats have been translocated to Kuzuko to undergo their wilding and fitness programme in specially designed wilding sections prior to their final release on other reserves. Two litters of cubs have already been born into the protected wild on the reserve from previously hand-raised females. Once grown up, having been raised by their mothers, they will also be released on other reserves.

“Our conservation efforts primarily focus on the wilding and introduction of captive-bred cheetahs into the protected wild. The ultimate purpose is to strengthen the gene pool and to secure a viable cheetah metapopulation in South Africa, in order to prevent the further decline of cheetah numbers in the wild,” states Chantal Rischard, founder and co-owner of Ashia. Several cheetahs are earmarked each year for wilding and release onto private game reserves in South Africa.

Cheetah Voluntourism
Voluntourism, or volunteer tourism, is when international volunteers contribute their time to work for organisations or causes outside their respective home countries.

A volunteer cleaning a cheetah enclosure at Ashia Cheetah Sanctuary
Ashia now offers the opportunity to get involved in its cheetah conservation efforts. Volunteers will first work alongside sanctuary staff in Paarl to get the necessary experience and training for their volunteering time in the field of South African game reserves.

Depending on the stage of the yearly release efforts, they will either assist in accompanying the cheetahs to the reserve, help with their settling in boma period, or later, monitor and record their movements, behaviour as well as hunting and breeding successes. Additionally, they will support the game reserve’s predator team with boma, fence and general reserve maintenance or bush clearing. During educational sessions at Paarl and the reserve, volunteers will gain a deeper insight into Cheetah Conservation and other wildlife.

Interested volunteers should be available for a minimum 3 to 4-week period, which will include at least a week in a game reserve. As such volunteering could require a lot of driving; interested parties should therefore ideally hold an international driver’s license.

For those with less time available, Ashia offers additional flexible volunteering programmes at the sanctuary in Paarl (near Cape Town), ranging in time from 2 weeks to several months. Furthermore, opportunities for internships are also available.

Ashia Cheetah Sanctuary Volunteer Housing Quarters
Ashia’s luxurious Volunteer House can accommodate up to 12 volunteers and offers sweeping views over the cheetah camps, orchards and the dramatic Drakenstein mountains. Two spacious, modern cottages next to the Volunteer House offer more privacy for those wishing to spend a Working Holiday at the sanctuary. This allows the flexibility to choose if, and when, guests want to participate in the usual daily volunteer duties and social activities.

A favourite quote for the Volunteer team is a Chinese proverb that states: “Tell me and I’ll forget; Show me and I may remember; Involve me and I’ll understand”, forming the foundation of the volunteering programme and the legacy they hope to leave for future generations.

Breeding, Wilding and Release Project set up by Ashia Cheetah Conservation and Kuzuko Lodge in 2018. Ashia Cheetah Conservation is a Non-profit organisation

April 12, 2019

One of the objectives of the metapopulation project, said Van der Merwe, was to destroy the captive breeding industry and build up the gene pool of the wild population in SA’s 56 cheetah reserves. This population has sunk to only about 380 animals, far short of the 1,000 needed to sustain a healthy gene pool…

Cubs put cheetahs on the fast track to a wilder future

It’s not their cuteness or even the fact that they increase SA’s wild cheetah population by 1% that makes these newborn cubs important. It’s their genes.
“Around 90% of all wild cheetahs in SA are descended from only three females,” said Vincent van der Merwe, head of the Endangered Wildlife Trust’s project to bolster the species’ presence in SA.
The arrival four weeks ago of three cubs – two females and a male – at Kuzuko reserve in the Eastern Cape was a small but significant step towards expanding the Acinonyx jubatus gene pool.
“At the moment, I can’t move a cheetah onto a reserve without relatedness issues,” said Van der Merwe. “They are nearly always cousins or half-cousins of the cheetah already there.
“We were faced with the really horrible situation of having to introduce captive genes into the wild population.”
This is why the new arrivals at Kuzuko – the first cubs to emerge from the reserve’s new cheetah breeding programme – are so important.
Once they are around 18 months old, and have become “lion savvy” while roaming the reserve’s 15,000ha, Van der Merwe will take them – and their vital genes – to other reserves, where they will roam wild and hopefully breed.
First they’ll have to avoid the predators – lions, leopards and hyenas – that leave Van der Merwe admitting “we’re expecting a lot of mortality”.
But he has high hopes for the Kuzuko cubs. “The Karoo generally produces quite a tough animal,” he said.
The three cubs have been named Storm, Summer and Rain, in honour of their arrival in the early hours of March 15 during a late-summer downpour.
Their mother is a captive-born cat which is part of the first phase of a cheetah breeding, wilding and release project initiated between the five-star Kuzuko Lodge at the heart of the reserve and a non-profit organisation, Ashia Cheetah Conservation.
The cubs were born in Kuzuko’s 600ha breeding section, which is free of predators and allows reserve manager Gerhard de Lange to monitor pregnant females and offspring.
The mother was already pregnant when she arrived at Kuzuko from Ashia’s cheetah sanctuary in the Western Cape town of Paarl and was released into a holding boma then into the breeding section, where she was soon successfully hunting.
Chantal Rischard from Ashia said the first litter of cubs to be born in the breeding section was a major milestone.
“The eventual introduction of these cubs, once they reach maturity, into the cheetah metapopulation project will complete the cycle that we originally intended – for captive-bred cheetahs and their offspring to make a significant contribution to the conservation plight of this endangered species,” she said.
De Lange said the mother and cubs were doing phenomenally well. “It has been an amazing experience to witness how remarkably well these cats are adjusting to their new home in the wild.”
One of the objectives of the metapopulation project, said Van der Merwe, was to destroy the captive breeding industry and build up the gene pool of the wild population in SA’s 56 cheetah reserves.
This population has sunk to only about 380 animals, far short of the 1,000 needed to sustain a healthy gene pool.
“At the moment we have only 30 to 40 females breeding and only a very small population that are genetically compatible,” he said. “And only the fittest of the fit really contribute.”
That was why the Karoo-raised cubs were particularly important. The sparse vegetation, poor hunting, large distances and rocky landscape all contributed to the animals’ hardiness.
For the 18-month start in life at Kuzuko, the cubs will be closely monitored.
“Then we’ll throw them into the deep end on other metapopulation reserves with high densities of lion, leopard and hyena,” said Van der Merwe.
The survivors will not only be key to repopulating SA with the fastest land animal.
Reserves in Rwanda, Zambia, Malawi, Mozambique and the Democratic Republic of Congo are in the queue for cheetahs that emerge from Van der Merwe’s project…

Captive-born mother Cheetah is part of the first phase of a cheetah breeding, wilding and release project. She was released into a holding boma then into the breeding section, where she was soon successfully hunting.

April 12, 2019

It’s not their cuteness or even the fact that they increase SA’s wild cheetah population by 1% that makes these newborn cubs important. It’s their genes.
“Around 90% of all wild cheetahs in SA are descended from only three females,” said Vincent van der Merwe, head of the Endangered Wildlife Trust’s project to bolster the species’ presence in SA…

Cubs put cheetahs on the fast track to a wilder future

It’s not their cuteness or even the fact that they increase SA’s wild cheetah population by 1% that makes these newborn cubs important. It’s their genes.

“Around 90% of all wild cheetahs in SA are descended from only three females,” said Vincent van der Merwe, head of the Endangered Wildlife Trust’s project to bolster the species’ presence in SA.

The arrival four weeks ago of three cubs – two females and a male – at Kuzuko reserve in the Eastern Cape was a small but significant step towards expanding the Acinonyx jubatus gene pool.

“At the moment, I can’t move a cheetah onto a reserve without relatedness issues,” said Van der Merwe. “They are nearly always cousins or half-cousins of the cheetah already there.

“We were faced with the really horrible situation of having to introduce captive genes into the wild population.”
This is why the new arrivals at Kuzuko – the first cubs to emerge from the reserve’s new cheetah breeding programme – are so important.

Once they are around 18 months old, and have become “lion savvy” while roaming the reserve’s 15,000ha, Van der Merwe will take them – and their vital genes – to other reserves, where they will roam wild and hopefully breed.
First they’ll have to avoid the predators – lions, leopards and hyenas – that leave Van der Merwe admitting “we’re expecting a lot of mortality”.
But he has high hopes for the Kuzuko cubs. “The Karoo generally produces quite a tough animal,” he said.

The three cubs have been named Storm, Summer and Rain, in honour of their arrival in the early hours of March 15 during a late-summer downpour.
Their mother is a captive-born cat which is part of the first phase of a cheetah breeding, wilding and release project initiated between the five-star Kuzuko Lodge at the heart of the reserve and a non-profit organisation, Ashia Cheetah Conservation.

The cubs were born in Kuzuko’s 600ha breeding section, which is free of predators and allows reserve manager Gerhard de Lange to monitor pregnant females and offspring.
The mother was already pregnant when she arrived at Kuzuko from Ashia’s cheetah sanctuary in the Western Cape town of Paarl and was released into a holding boma then into the breeding section, where she was soon successfully hunting.

Chantal Rischard from Ashia said the first litter of cubs to be born in the breeding section was a major milestone.
“The eventual introduction of these cubs, once they reach maturity, into the cheetah metapopulation project will complete the cycle that we originally intended – for captive-bred cheetahs and their offspring to make a significant contribution to the conservation plight of this endangered species,” she said.
De Lange said the mother and cubs were doing phenomenally well. “It has been an amazing experience to witness how remarkably well these cats are adjusting to their new home in the wild.”

The main objective of the metapopulation project, said Van der Merwe, was to build up the gene pool of the wild population in SA’s 56 cheetah reserves.
This population has sunk to only about 380 animals, far short of the 1,000 needed to sustain a healthy gene pool. “At the moment we have only 30 to 40 females breeding and only a very small population that are genetically compatible,” he said. “And only the fittest of the fit really contribute.”
That was why the Karoo-raised cubs were particularly important. The sparse vegetation, poor hunting, large distances and rocky landscape all contributed to the animals’ hardiness.

For the 18-month start in life at Kuzuko, the cubs will be closely monitored. “Then we’ll throw them into the deep end on other metapopulation reserves with high densities of lion, leopard and hyena,” said Van der Merwe.
The survivors will not only be key to repopulating SA with the fastest land animal. Reserves in Rwanda, Zambia, Malawi, Mozambique and the Democratic Republic of Congo are in the queue for cheetahs that emerge from Van der Merwe’s project.

During the early hours of a stormy late-summer morning, the first three cubs of a pioneering cheetah conservation project

April 11, 2019

We are delighted to have reached this major milestone, in that the first litter of cubs have successfully been born into the project. The eventual introduction of these cubs, once they reach maturity, into the Cheetah Metapopulation Project will complete the cycle that we originally intended – for captive-bred cheetahs and their offspring to make a significant contribution to the conservation plight of this endangered species,”states Chantal Rischard from Ashia…

Birth Of Cheetah Cubs A Milestone Event For Breeding Project

Kuzuko Game Reserve, Eastern Cape, 11 April 2019 –

During the early hours of a stormy late-summer morning, the first three cubs of a pioneering cheetah conservation project were born at Kuzuko Lodge, part of the Legacy Hotels & Resorts Group.

The birth of these cubs is particularly significant as they are the first cheetah cubs to be born on Kuzuko Game Reserve from a captive-born female cheetah, who is part of the first wave of cats to be introduced for the Cheetah Breeding, Wilding & Release Project, initiated between Kuzuko Lodge and Ashia Cheetah Conservation NPO.

The primary goal of the project comprises the Cheetah Breeding Project, in a secure but natural environment provided on Kuzuko’s game reserve. The Breeding Section is made up of an area of close to 600ha where captive-born cats are able to hunt, mate and give birth in the wild. The predator-free area allows close monitoring of adult animals and pregnant females as well as their future offspring.

The proud mother who was already pregnant when she arrived was the second female to make her way to Kuzuko, at the beginning of 2019, one of three adult females to kick off the Cheetah Breeding Project. Originally a captive-born cheetah, her introduction on the reserve started in a holding boma, after which she was released onto the Breeding Section where she was soon successfully hunting.

During a warm summer rainstorm on 15 March 2019, she gave birth to one male and two female cubs, aptly named Storm, Summer and Rain by the Kuzuko and Ashia teams, in commemoration of the tumultuous weather conditions on the day of their birth. As nature intended the three cubs will remain with their mother to grow up in the protected wild and learn to hunt on their own. Once mature enough to fend for themselves, they will enter the Cheetah Metapopulation Project who will identify suitable game reserves for the offspring born at Kuzuko.
“We are delighted to have reached this major milestone, in that the first litter of cubs have successfully been born into the project. The eventual introduction of these cubs, once they reach maturity, into the Cheetah Metapopulation Project will complete the cycle that we originally intended – for captive-bred cheetahs and their offspring to make a significant contribution to the conservation plight of this endangered species,” states Chantal Rischard from Ashia.

Gerhard de Lange from Kuzuko adds: “The female and her cubs are doing phenomenally well; the cubs are growing daily under their mom’s attentive care. It has been an amazing experience to witness how remarkably well these cats are adjusting to their new home in the wild.”

ABOUT KUZUKO:
Kuzuko Lodge is built high up on a hill in a 15 000ha private game reserve situated in the Malaria free greater Addo area which is situated in the Eastern Cape Province of South Africa. This reserve is perfectly situated to start or complete a trip along the Garden Route with. Guests are housed in 24 chalets of which three are wheelchair accessible. Kuzuko is part of the Legacy Hotels & Resorts Group and is a member of the Inqo Investments Social Impact Investment Group, which combines job creation, conservation and social transformation. For more information visit www.kuzuko.com or www.kuzukolodge.co.za or phone +27 42 203 1700.

ABOUT ASHIA CHEETAH CONSERVATION:
A registered non-profit company, Ashia Cheetah Conservation was set up by Ashia to manage and finance the Cheetah Release Program. Ashia’s goal is to help prevent the further decline of cheetah populations and increase the genetic gene pool through captive breeding programs. Captive-born cheetahs will be released into the protected wild of selected Private Game Reserves in South Africa. The relatedness of the reserve populations has become an issue and preventing inbreeding without supplementation from outside populations will be practically impossible. Given the limited numbers in the wild, the release of captive-born cheetahs from scientific breeding programs with strict DNA testing and accurate (Studbook) records on origin and parentage is a promising way to respond to the urgent need of reintroducing new genes to strengthen the wild populations.

ABOUT ASHIA:
A world-class cheetah sanctuary outside Paarl in South Africa’s Western Cape, Ashia is a mere 45-minute drive from Cape Town. An African name meaning ‘life and hope’, Ashia lies nestled at the foot of the dramatic Drakenstein mountains, providing the perfect setting for its resident cheetahs and the sanctuary’s education, research, fundraising and visitor activities. Ashia was founded in October 2016 with the purchase of a 35ha working farm in Paarl cultivating grapes, olives and guavas. Over a period of 18 months, 10ha have been transformed into the present sanctuary. A visit at Ashia offers in-depth educational experiences about small and big cats in human care and cheetah conservation in action. Ashia it is a not-for-profit undertaking as none of the surpluses leaves the project but for funding Ashia Cheetah Conservation NPC which is financing the Cheetah Wilding and Release Program and linking Wildlife Conservation and Human Welfare. Ashia does not support any cheetah trade. All releases take place at own costs.

Two captive-born Cheetahs prepare for their release into the protected wild, gaining fitness and hunting skills for their future life in the wild

March 24, 2019

“We partnered with Kuzuko as the game reserve offers the most dedicated wildlife management under Gerhard de Lange, and a perfect set-up for captive-born and captive-raised cats to gain the necessary fitness and hunting skills for their future life in the wild. Extending the initial wilding and release concept with the breeding venture opens the door to a whole new level of conservation,” states Chantal Rischard from Ashia.” 

Kuzuko, Eastern Cape – March 15, 2019: The release of a captive-born female cheetah named Jasmin onto Kuzuko Lodge, part of the Legacy Hotels & Resorts Group, at the end of August 2018, has given birth to a pioneering conservation initiative and has marked the start of a promising partnership formed between Kuzuko Lodge and Ashia Cheetah Conservation NPO.

After initially spending some time in a boma, Jasmin was released onto a 300ha Wilding Section. This turned out to be the most perfect set-up for her fitness and hunting training as Jasmin’s instincts kicked in almost immediately. In the space of days she made her first kill and has been successfully hunting ever since. Monitoring Jasmin’s first amazing months of wilding and successful hunting, lead to the creation of the “Cheetah Breeding, Wilding & Release Project” which is based on two main objectives.

The primary goal of the project comprises the Cheetah Breeding Project in a secure but natural environment provided on Kuzuko’s game reserve. Financed by both parties, Kuzuko started with the fencing and internal set-up of the Breeding Section in 2018. This is an area of close to 600ha where several captive-born cats are now able to hunt, mate and give birth in the wild. The predator-free area (with no lions and leopards) allows close monitoring of adult animals and pregnant females as well as their future offspring.

According to both parties involved, the innovative set-up is designed to lower the major threats cheetah cubs face in the wild, and considerably increase their survival rate, all the while being raised and “educated” by their mother. The protective instinct of the mothers should also kick in leading the cubs away from lions patrolling the fence, thus sensitising the cubs to bigger predators.

“We partnered with Kuzuko as the game reserve offers the most dedicated wildlife management under Gerhard de Lange, and a perfect set-up for captive-born and captive-raised cats to gain the necessary fitness and hunting skills for their future life in the wild. Extending the initial wilding and release concept with the breeding venture opens the door to a whole new level of conservation,” states Chantal Rischard from Ashia.

The already existing 300ha Wilding Section where Jasmin started her walk into the wild, will furthermore be used to prepare captive-born adult or adolescent cats for their release into the protected wild of other game reserves in South Africa. Jasmin and any subsequent cat roaming this section are in good company as De Lange and his team first used it to rehabilitate Sylvester the famous run-away lion from the Karoo, who has been in residence at Kuzuko since May 2016.

Secondly, it also was the initial home for Nika and Angel, two orphan lioness cubs who were raised to be wild from a mere five months old. Both were successfully released into the reserve where they now hunt and thrive, forming a pride with Sylvester and his male counterpart Fielies (another lion on the reserve who had an uncertain future).  Recently the lionesses both had cubs, sparking the conservation success story that inspired De Lange to do the same with captive-born cheetah. He used a completely hands-off approach with these lionesses, meaning he is unable to walk with them, touch them or call them, the same approach that will be used with the cheetah who are part of the new initiative.

At this stage, the 300ha Wilding Section is home to a 5-year old male cheetah who is undergoing the wilding and fitness phase and is already hunting regularly. He is earmarked for release on a game reserve in the Eastern Cape by the middle of 2019. Kuzuko and Ashia both closely work with the management of South Africa’s Cheetah Metapopulation Project of the EWT (Endangered Wildlife Trust). The team at EWT  assists by identifying suitable game reserves for wilded cheetah and provides invaluable advice where needed.

Kuzuko’s Breeding and Wilding Sections are at the moment home to six cheetah, consisting of three adult females, one adult male and two adolescent siblings.

“All adult cats made their first kill a mere 6-10 days after being released onto the Wilding and Breeding Section. They are doing exceptionally well, and their personality, behaviour and physical condition changed surprisingly fast. We are in uncharted waters and may experience set-backs but we are convinced it is a very promising way to go forward in cheetah conservation,” states Gerhard de Lange from Kuzuko.

Cheetah mother with her three cubs new born

March 24, 2019

The mother gave birth to one male and two female cubs, aptly named Storm, Summer and Rain by the Kuzuko and Ashia teams. The three cubs will remain with their mother to mature in the protected wild area and learn to hunt on their own…

3 cubs born in pioneering cheetah conservation project

During the early hours of a stormy late-summer’s morning on 15 March 2019, the first three cubs of a pioneering cheetah-conservation project were born at Kuzuko Lodge.

The birth of these cubs is particularly significant as they are the first cubs to be born on the reserve from a captive-born female cheetah, part of the first wave of cats to be part of the ‘Cheetah Breeding, Wilding & Release Project’, an initiative of Kuzuko Lodge and Ashia Cheetah Conservation NPO.

The breeding area within Kuzuko’s reserve is a 600ha space where captive-born cats are able to hunt, mate and give birth in the wild. The predator-free section allows close monitoring of adult animals and pregnant females as well as their future offspring.

The mother who was already pregnant when she arrived was the second female to make her way to Kuzuko, at the beginning of 2019, one of three adult females to kick off the Cheetah Breeding Project. Originally a captive-born cheetah, her introduction to the reserve began in a holding boma, after which she was released into the breeding area where she was soon successfully hunting.

The mother gave birth to one male and two female cubs, aptly named Storm, Summer and Rain by the Kuzuko and Ashia teams. The three cubs will remain with their mother to mature in the protected wild area and learn to hunt on their own. Once old enough to fend for themselves, they will enter the Cheetah Metapopulation Project that will identify suitable game reserves for the offspring born at Kuzuko.

‘We are delighted to have reached this major milestone, in that the first litter of cubs have successfully been born into the project. The eventual introduction of these cubs, once they reach maturity, into the Cheetah Metapopulation Project will complete the cycle that we originally intended – for captive-bred cheetahs and their offspring to make a significant contribution to the conservation plight of this endangered species,’ states Chantal Rischard from Ashia.

Gerhard de Lange from Kuzuko adds: ‘The female and her cubs are doing phenomenally well; the cubs are growing daily under their mom’s attentive care. It has been an amazing experience to witness how remarkably well these cats are adjusting to their new home in the wild.’

Ashia underwent an intensive accreditation process of working alongside the Fair Trade Tourism (FTT) team to align processes and procedures with FTT’s rigorous requirements

March 15, 2019
Over the past few months, Ashia underwent an intensive accreditation process of working alongside the Fair Trade Tourism (FTT) team to align processes and procedures with FTT’s rigorous…  VIEW FULL ARTICLE.

Six cheetahs roaming a remote game reserve in the Karoo could hold the key to the future of the species in the wild.

March 15, 2019
“We need new genetics, and the time has come for the captive cheetah community to play their part. The reality is that captive cheetah facilities have no conservation value unless they are contributing to the conservation of wild cheetah.”

Six cheetahs roaming a remote game reserve in the Karoo could hold the key to the future of the species in the wild.
The 15,000-hectare Kuzuko reserve, with a five-star lodge at its heart, has unveiled an ambitious project to breed, wild and release cheetahs so the SA wild population of just 350 animals can grow.
It is working with the cheetah metapopulation project at the Endangered Wildlife Trust and cheetah conservation charity Ashia to breed animals that can be sold for nominal amounts to other reserves.
Kuzuko manager Gerhard Lange said a “rewilded” captive-bred cheetah, a five-year-old male that was making regular kills in the reserve’s 300ha fenced wilding section, was due to be released at another Eastern Cape reserve in the middle of the year.
Lange has rewilded two orphaned lioness cubs at Kuzuko, near Somerset East, and they are now raising cubs. But with cheetahs, he said he was attempting something that had not been tried before.
The adult male, three adult females and two adolescent siblings are roaming the wilding section and a 600ha area set aside for breeding.
“All adult cats made their first kill a mere six to 10 days after being released on to the wilding and breeding sections,” said Lange.
“They are doing exceptionally well, and their personality, behaviour and physical condition changed surprisingly fast. We are in uncharted waters and may experience setbacks, but we are convinced it is a very promising way to go forward in cheetah conservation.”
The breeding and wilding project was sparked by early success with Jasmin, a female born in captivity at Cheetah Experience Bloemfontein and released into Kuzuko’s wilding section in August 2018.
When she arrived, Jasmin behaved more like a house cat than a wild animal, purring as she pressed her body against Lange’s legs, and expecting to be fed by hand.
“In the space of days she made her first kill and has been successfully hunting ever since,” said Lange, pointing out that while the cheetah was still calm around humans, she no longer sought physical contact.
A statement from Kuzuko said Lange was using a similar “completely hands-off approach” with the cheetahs he adopted with the orphan lionesses. “He is unable to walk with the [lionesses], touch them or call them. The same approach will be used with the cheetah who are part of the new initiative,” it said.
In May 2016, Kuzuko’s wilding section was the temporary home for Sylvester, the runaway Karoo National Park lion that has now settled at the reserve. It then became home for the orphan lionesses, which have formed a pride and bred with Sylvester and his male counterpart, Fielies.
The reserve’s breeding section is free of predators such as lions and leopards, and allows Lange and his staff to closely monitor the animals.
“The innovative setup is designed to lower the major threats cheetah cubs face in the wild and considerably increase their survival rate, all the while being raised and ‘educated’ by their mother,” said the Kuzuko statement.
“The protective instinct of the mothers should also kick in, leading the cubs away from lions patrolling the fence, thus sensitising the cubs to bigger predators.”
Chantal Rischard, the German co-founder of Ashia – based in Paarl, Western Cape – said the charity partnered with Kuzuko because it provided “a perfect setup for captive-born and captive-raised cats to gain the necessary fitness and hunting skills for their future life in the wild. Extending the initial wilding and release concept with the breeding venture opens the door to a whole new level of conservation”.
During a visit to Kuzuko by Times Select, Lange said one of his objectives was to close down the commercial cheetah-breeding industry, which had driven up prices for the endangered animals and led to them being sold as pets for vast sums.
With the support of Ashia and Kuzuko owner Dr Kim Tan, it is proposed that male cheetahs from the reserve will be sold to approved buyers for R15,000 and females for R30,000.
Vincent van der Merwe, who co-ordinates the cheetah metapopulation project, said 1,000 animals were needed for SA to have a genetically viable wild population.
The current population of 351, in 54 small fenced reserves, were predominantly male, “so it is absolutely necessary to move individuals between reserves in order to maintain the genetic and demographic integrity of the metapopulation”.
The country also had about 600 cheetahs in almost 70 captive facilities, Van der Merwe told tourismtattler.com “Our aim is to reverse the ‘cheetah sink’ from captive populations to fenced metapopulations, and finally to free-roaming metapopulations. Currently, there is a demand for 32 females and 33 males, bringing the total to 65 cheetahs required for 25 new and existing reserves.
“We need new genetics, and the time has come for the captive cheetah community to play their part. The reality is that captive cheetah facilities have no conservation value unless they are contributing to the conservation of wild cheetah.”

Cheetah Breeding, Wilding & Release Project formed between Kuzuko Lodge and Ashia Cheetah Conservation NPO.

March 14, 2019
Extending the initial wilding and release concept with the breeding venture opens the door to a whole new level of conservation,” states Chantal Rischard from Ashia.  ….  VIEW FULL ARTICLE.

Safari Accommodation-Near-Cape-Town

December 10, 2018
This is not a traditional safari experience, but it’s a wonderful way to meet the ambassador cheetahs and even have the opportunity to watch a cheetah run. At Ashia, there are several luxurious suites on offer…  VIEW FULL ARTICLE.

Kuzuko, Eastern Cape – March 15, 2019: The release of a captive-born female cheetah named Jasmin onto Kuzuko Lodge, part of the Legacy Hotels & Resorts Group, at the end of August 2018, has given birth to a pioneering conservation initiative and has marked the start of a promising partnership formed between Kuzuko Lodge and Ashia Cheetah Conservation NPO.

After initially spending some time in a boma, Jasmin was released onto a 300ha Wilding Section. This turned out to be the most perfect set-up for her fitness and hunting training as Jasmin’s instincts kicked in almost immediately. In the space of days she made her first kill and has been successfully hunting ever since. Monitoring Jasmin’s first amazing months of wilding and successful hunting, lead to the creation of the “Cheetah Breeding, Wilding & Release Project” which is based on two main objectives.

The primary goal of the project comprises the Cheetah Breeding Project in a secure but natural environment provided on Kuzuko’s game reserve. Financed by both parties, Kuzuko started with the fencing and internal set-up of the Breeding Section in 2018. This is an area of close to 600ha where several captive-born cats are now able to hunt, mate and give birth in the wild. The predator-free area (with no lions and leopards) allows close monitoring of adult animals and pregnant females as well as their future offspring.

According to both parties involved, the innovative set-up is designed to lower the major threats cheetah cubs face in the wild, and considerably increase their survival rate, all the while being raised and “educated” by their mother. The protective instinct of the mothers should also kick in leading the cubs away from lions patrolling the fence, thus sensitising the cubs to bigger predators.

“We partnered with Kuzuko as the game reserve offers the most dedicated wildlife management under Gerhard de Lange, and a perfect set-up for captive-born and captive-raised cats to gain the necessary fitness and hunting skills for their future life in the wild. Extending the initial wilding and release concept with the breeding venture opens the door to a whole new level of conservation,” states Chantal Rischard from Ashia.

The already existing 300ha Wilding Section where Jasmin started her walk into the wild, will furthermore be used to prepare captive-born adult or adolescent cats for their release into the protected wild of other game reserves in South Africa. Jasmin and any subsequent cat roaming this section are in good company as De Lange and his team first used it to rehabilitate Sylvester the famous run-away lion from the Karoo, who has been in residence at Kuzuko since May 2016.

Secondly, it also was the initial home for Nika and Angel, two orphan lioness cubs who were raised to be wild from a mere five months old. Both were successfully released into the reserve where they now hunt and thrive, forming a pride with Sylvester and his male counterpart Fielies (another lion on the reserve who had an uncertain future).  Recently the lionesses both had cubs, sparking the conservation success story that inspired De Lange to do the same with captive-born cheetah. He used a completely hands-off approach with these lionesses, meaning he is unable to walk with them, touch them or call them, the same approach that will be used with the cheetah who are part of the new initiative.

At this stage, the 300ha Wilding Section is home to a 5-year old male cheetah who is undergoing the wilding and fitness phase and is already hunting regularly. He is earmarked for release on a game reserve in the Eastern Cape by the middle of 2019. Kuzuko and Ashia both closely work with the management of South Africa’s Cheetah Metapopulation Project of the EWT (Endangered Wildlife Trust). The team at EWT  assists by identifying suitable game reserves for wilded cheetah and provides invaluable advice where needed.

Kuzuko’s Breeding and Wilding Sections are at the moment home to six cheetah, consisting of three adult females, one adult male and two adolescent siblings.

“All adult cats made their first kill a mere 6-10 days after being released onto the Wilding and Breeding Section. They are doing exceptionally well, and their personality, behaviour and physical condition changed surprisingly fast. We are in uncharted waters and may experience set-backs but we are convinced it is a very promising way to go forward in cheetah conservation,” states Gerhard de Lange from Kuzuko.

Cheetah Eating Springbuck

November 8, 2018
“From our side, Kuzuko Lodge must thank NPO Ashia Cheetah Conservation for trusting us with the first wilding process of a captive bred cheetah from its programme. Jasmin will, and is, opening doors for many other captive bred cheetahs to be wilded in suitable areas, and will ultimately secure a more genetically viable wild cheetah population,” De Lange said….

Jasmin astounds by making first kill in record time and takes significant strides towards her eventual release into the wild

The conservation team at Kuzuko Lodge, managed by Legacy Hotels and Resorts, recently reported that the captive bred cheetah Jasmin, which was donated to Kuzuko by the NPO Ashia Cheetah Conservation, was recently released into a larger holding camp and officially made her own kill.

The significance of this is a critical piece of a carefully constructed conservation puzzle that brings her closer to being released into the wild.

Jasmin, who arrived at Kuzuko Lodge on 29 August 2018, was initially kept in a smaller holding boma to acclimatise, thereafter she underwent a soft release into a 300ha camp on 27 September. Upon her release she picked up the food that had been provided to her in the boma, carried it 20 metres, dropped it and started looking for animals to hunt.

“That very afternoon she was seen chasing impala and we were surprised by her speed, especially considering she has been raised in captivity,” said Gerhard de Lange, Kuzuko Reserve General Manager. “During the next couple of days, she was regularly seen chasing springbok, steenbok and meerkats.

“She made her first springbok kill on Friday 5 October, a mere eight days after her release out of the holding boma. Unfortunately I was not on the property at the time to document it, and it was in a river line. Knowing that there are other animals around this area that could present a danger to people on foot, my team could not photograph it. But we knew that it would only be a matter of time until she killed again, and we could document it for the public to see,” said De Lange.

It was on Monday 15 October, that De Lange then found her hunting in the North-Eastern corner of her camp, but lost visibility of her when she entered a densely vegetated area. At 5pm that afternoon he decided to follow her radio collar signal and started walking in its direction when he came around a corner and there she was, on another springbok kill.

“I rushed back to the vehicle to collect camera equipment to photograph and film this milestone to share with everyone in South Africa who has been following Jasmin’s story. We also had a number of foreign tourists out on the game drive with us that afternoon, who our qualified field guides then took within a safe distance of the site to also experience this incredible feat of Mother Nature. It’s an unbelievable journey we are on and to be able to share this wilding process with people who can take the story of Jasmin home with them, and share with hundreds more, is what conservation is all about,” he said.

With this milestone, the process of wilding Jasmin is well and truly on track and according to the Kuzuko team is “going better than expected”. While De Lange says she still has a way to go to build her full strength, it is important to celebrate the success of her being able to hunt, on her own, for the first time in her life. As a result of the speed at which she has accomplished this she could very well join the two males out on the 15 000ha Kuzuko Reserve sooner than expected.

“The cheetah has become Africa’s most endangered big cat. From a count of 100 000 in 1900, the numbers have dropped to under 7 000 today. Ethical breeding in captivity, such as that we are working on at Ashia Cheetah Conservation, has become essential to ensure the long-term survival and viable genetic diversity of the species. The release of Jasmin, a captive-born cheetah, into the wild – the first of many to come for Ashia – who is now proving our efforts right through her successes, is a true win for conservation on numerous fronts. A large part of this achievement has been the successful collaboration between the various stakeholders involved,” says Chantal Rischard, co-founder at Ashia Cheetah Conservation.

Like Jasmin, further captive-born cheetahs will be released into the protected wild within selected Private Game Reserves in South Africa through Ashia’s Release Programme. According to Rischard, several potential game reserves have already been identified and visited by the Ashia team and are in the process of applying for the necessary permits.

“I often get asked why does this matter? It’s a huge step for conservation, as a community we need to pool together and help our big cats by diversifying their gene pool in order to ensure the longevity of the species. Jasmin’s DNA, which we have on record, doesn’t have the same structure than the cheetahs in the existing metapopulation, and indicates that she is in fact closely related to captive animals. Therefore, breeding her with existing wild males will create a diversified genepool that can only benefit the cheetah metapopulation,” said De Lange.

“From our side, Kuzuko Lodge must thank NPO Ashia Cheetah Conservation for trusting us with the first wilding process of a captive bred cheetah from its programme. Jasmin will, and is, opening doors for many other captive bred cheetahs to be wilded in suitable areas, and will ultimately secure a more genetically viable wild cheetah population,” De Lange said.

Captive-bred cheetah Jasmin Lays Next To Her First Kill

October 22, 2018
Cape Town – The captive-bred cheetah Jasmin, donated to the Kuzuko Lodge in the Addo Elephant National Park by the non-profit organisation Ashia Cheetah Conservation, was recently…  VIEW FULL ARTICLE.

Captive Bred Cheetah Released Into The Protective Wild Made Her First Springbok Kill

October 22, 2018
The release of Jasmin, a captive-born cheetah, into the wild – the first of many to come for Ashia – who is now proving our efforts right through her successes, is a true win for conservation on numerous fronts…  VIEW FULL ARTICLE.

Captive-bred cheetah makes first kill

October 19, 2018
The conservation team at Kuzuko Lodge, managed by Legacy Hotels and Resorts, are happy to report that the captive bred cheetah named Jasmin, which was donated to Kuzuko by the NPO Ashia Cheetah Conservation, was recently released …  VIEW FULL ARTICLE.

News Release of Captive Cheetah making her first Kill

October 18, 2018
Ethical breeding in captivity, such as that we are working on at Ashia Cheetah Conservation, has become essential to ensure the long-term survival and viable genetic diversity of the species. The release of Jasmin, a captive-born cheetah, into the…  VIEW FULL ARTICLE.

Released Captive-Bred Cheetah Jasmin Lying Down In The Bush With Her Very First Kill, A Springbok

October 15, 2018
Like Jasmin, further captive-born cheetahs will be released into the protected wild within selected Private Game Reserves in South Africa through Ashia’s Release Programme. According to Rischard, several potential game reserves…  VIEW FULL ARTICLE.

Jasmin is the first cat from the Ashia Cheetah Release Programme to be “wilded”

September 22, 2018 
Jasmin is the first cat from the Ashia Cheetah Release Programme to be “wilded”. She is in the initial holding boma at Kuzuko, in the greater Addo area, where she is being introduced to the elements under careful watch.

Captive-born cheetah settling in well at Addo reserve

 22 September 2018

Captive-born cheetah Jasmin is responding favourably to her gentle introduction to the wild, thanks to the efforts of a very patient team of conservationists at Kuzuko Lodge in the Eastern Cape and the vision of a non-profit organisation based in Paarl.
Jasmin is the first cat from the Ashia Cheetah Release Programme to be “wilded”. She is in the initial holding boma at Kuzuko, in the greater Addo area, where she is being introduced to the elements under careful watch.
Ashia Cheetah Conservation was set up to fund and manage the release programme of Ashia, a new world-class sanctuary and working farm outside Paarl.
The organisation donated Jasmin to Kuzuko while also funding her transportation and veterinary bills during the relocation process.
Jasmin, described as feisty and inquisitive, is in the same boma De Lange and his team used to rehabilitate Sylvester the lion, which has been at Kuzuko since 2016.
The larger of the two bomas was also the initial home for Nika and Angel, two orphan lioness cubs raised to be wild from just five months old. They were successfully released into the reserve where they now hunt and thrive, forming a pride with Sylvester and another lion, Fielies.
Following her journey from Ashia’s partner project, Cheetah Experience Bloemfontein, Jasmin was released into the boma at the end of August after an uneventful seven-hour journey. Kuzuko reserve general manager Gerhard de Lange, said she was curious about her surroundings from the minute she took her first steps at Kuzuko, and with no prompting was displaying all the natural instincts he had looked for when he first met her in her enclosure in Bloemfontein several months ago.
“Sadly cheetahs are easily domesticated, which is one of the reasons they are under threat,” De Lange said. “When looking for a cheetah female [for] Kuzuko, where we already have two male cheetahs, I was introduced to Jasmin and spent several hours observing her from a distance. “She showed a number of signs that identified her as the perfect candidate, including constantly looking up and around her while she feeds.
“She has already fed on her first ever carcass – a huge litmus test for her,” he said. “At first she was wary of the carcass, but soon realised this was food and approached it in exactly the same way a cheetah in the wild would. “She disembowelled it, ate the innards, cracked the cartilage at the joints and devoured the whole animal – all of this in just four days from her arrival.
“No one has taught her, no one prompted her, we keep our distance entirely and let mother nature do its work,” he added.
Jasmin’s eventual release will be part of a carefully planned programme. From the smaller boma there will be a soft release into a larger 300ha area, where she will be encouraged to hunt on her own. Here she will also be able to patrol the fence and be exposed to other animals on the reserve, including lions.
“The lions will be her biggest test. She will need to show signs of fear and respect for the lions as they are a cheetah’s biggest natural enemy. “When she shows she is wary of them, has been able to hunt on her own and exhibited other behaviour traits we are looking for, we will be able to then start calculating her ultimate release into the 15,000ha reserve,” he said. “If at any stage during her wilding process she does not exhibit the signs we are looking for, I will pull the plug on the process.”
De Lange said the SA cheetah population was under threat in part because of habitat loss, but also as a result of poaching and the ongoing trade in live animals.“The success of this project will not only help us increase the cheetah population at Kuzuko, but will lay the foundation for a much bigger conservation future for these big cats.” Ashia co-founder Chantal Rischard said the cheetah was Africa’s most endangered big cat. From 100,000 in 1900, the numbers have dropped to less than 7,000 today. “Ethical breeding in captivity has become essential to ensure the long-term survival and viable genetic diversity of the species.”
Other captive-born cheetahs will be released at selected private  reserves in SA through Ashia’s release programme.
For more information on Kuzuko, which is managed by the Legacy Hotels & Resorts Group, visit www.kuzuko.com or www.kuzukolodge.co.za or call 042-203-1700. For more on Ashia visit www.ashia.co.za or call 021-201-4774…

Magazine Layout Style Articles Cheetah Side View Face

September 16, 2018 
Cape Town – Jasmin is exceptionally cheeky and energetic. But those are just some of the endearing qualities the cheetah cub’s handler and co-founder of Ashia Cheetah Conservation, Chantal Rischard, is going… VIEW FULL ARTICLE.

Business Traveller Africa Cheetah Conservation

Sept 13, 2018

“There are a number of factors to consider when ‘wilding’ a cheetah born in captivity. Firstly, they need to have the right fight and flight responses, which can be evidenced in the way they feed and how they engage with people. Jasmin ticked all the boxes and in her short time in the boma, she is already exhibiting numerous traits that we believe will assist her smooth transition into the greater Kuzuko,” says De Lange.” 

Legacy’s conservation efforts
13/09/2018300

The Legacy Hotels & Resorts Group is part of the rehabilitation programme for four-year-old captive-born cheetah named Jasmin.

Jasmin is part of a captive breeding programme run by Ashia Cheetah Conservation, a registered non-profit company, which is trying to restore cheetah numbers in the wild.

“The cheetah has become Africa’s most endangered big cat. From a count of 100 000 in 1900, the numbers have dropped to under 7 000 today. Ethical breeding in captivity has become essential to ensure the long-term survival and viable genetic diversity of the species,” says Chantal Rischard, co-founder at Ashia.

On 29 August, Jasmin was released into the protected wild at Kuzuko Lodge, a private game reserve in the greater Addo area managed by Legacy.

After initial visits to Kuzuko Lodge and discussions with its Reserve General Manager, Gerhard de Lange, it was found that this private game reserve in the Eastern Cape would be the ideal location for the first release of an Ashia cheetah into a protected wild area.

Jasmin’s integration into the wild starts with boma living. Once she is settled in the boma, she will be moved to a 300 hectare enclosure before her eventual release into the expanse of the 15,000 hectare reserve.

Feisty and independent, Jasmin has settled in well so far and will soon be introduced to the other two resident male cheetahs on the reserve.

“There are a number of factors to consider when ‘wilding’ a cheetah born in captivity. Firstly, they need to have the right fight and flight responses, which can be evidenced in the way they feed and how they engage with people.

Close up photo of cheetah's face, displaying its tear mark, staring into the distance.

September 10, 2018 
ASHIA Cheetah Conservation has accomplished the first phase of the release of a 4-year-old captive-born cheetah named Jasmin into protected wild. The non-profit company was set up to finance and manage the release programme of Ashia… VIEW FULL ARTICLE.

Cheetah staring into distance while standing in front of Kuzuko Lodge signboard.

September 07, 2018 
A captive-born cheetah is on her way to a life in the wild in the Eastern Cape. The feline‚ named Jasmin‚ has been moved from Cheetah Experience Bloemfontein to a boma at a private game reserve near Addo… VIEW FULL ARTICLE.

Cheetah standing and staring into camera.

September 07, 2018 
THE release of a captive-born cheetah into the wild – the first of many to come for Ashia – is a true win for conservation on numerous fronts, with a large part of the achievement being the successful collaboration between the various stakeholders involved… VIEW FULL ARTICLE.

Distant photo of cheetah sitting on a rock.

September 07, 2018 
GEOARDENLIEBE und Unterkunft – Bei Ashia wohnen Tiere und Menschen zusammen. Am 7. September 2018 hat Ashia Cheetah Conservation eröffnet und einen Einblick in die neue Farm mit angrenzenden Unterkünften in Paarl gegeben… VIEW FULL ARTICLE.

Cheetah staring into distance while standing in front of Kuzuko Lodge signboard.

September 07, 2018 
CAPE TOWN, Paarl.  Cheetah Experience Ashia hosted guests and media at their cheetah sanctuary today to officially announce and celebrate the release of their first captive-born cheetah into the protected wild at Kuzuko Lodge… VIEW FULL ARTICLE.

Close up black and white photo of two cheetah faces, showing their black tear marks.

August 27, 2018 
WOULD Ashia, which only opened officially at the end of last year, be up to close scrutiny? Or is this just another addition to South Africa’s 80-odd captive wildlife breeding facilities who trade under the guise of cheetah conservation? I was soon to find out… VIEW FULL ARTICLE.

An article of Cheetah Experience Ashia appearing in the 7th of April Cape Argus Travel issue.
To read the full article, click here.