We, Ashia hereby declare that the following statement reflects our business intentions and our ethical conviction.
We are open and honest with our partner organisations as well as volunteers joining us.
Transparency of our business dealings is important to us, so we will provide our partners with relevant information and try to answer all questions that might arise to the best of our knowledge and belief.
Our Mission is to raise awareness of the vulnerability of South African species and other endangered species through educational experiences, as well as releasing captive-born cheetahs into a protected wild (wildlife game reserves). We are a not-for-profit organisation – all project surplus is used to assist the funding of the Cheetah Release Programme which links conservation and human welfare.
We are not involved in the canned lion/hunting industry and we unreservedly condemn such practices. We do not own lions and have no lions at our project.
We believe that it is our duty to educate the public on the canned hunting industry in South Africa and discuss this awful practice in the educational experiences we offer to visitors, and the training and induction program all of our volunteers go through.
At Ashia we do not condone cub or young adolescent petting/cuddling. When we do have juvenile animals at our projects, they are cared for by our experienced staff, with volunteers assisting in their care when required, and only after going through a training and induction program. Captive-born cheetahs that are ear-marked for release will be raised by their mothers with as little human interaction as possible.
We serve to better the living conditions of the animals in our care and do not knowingly get involved with anything contrary to this belief.
Besides breeding with the endangered cheetah species for conservation purposes and release Ashia doesn’t support breeding with any other big or small cats in Africa. At our facility in Paarl we do not breed with any animals. The male/female caracals, servals or leopards sharing an enclosure have been spayed/sterilized to prevent them from breeding.
At Ashia, we believe in implementing best practice and research globally on cheetah conservation. The Cheetah Conservation Fund (CCF) is one of the world’s leading organisations dedicated to saving the cheetah in the wild, and publishes the Cheetah International Studbook annually, which is a world register of cheetahs in captivity and a source of best practice and research in cheetah conservation. As stated in the studbook, ‘As wild populations continue to decline, the preservation of the current levels of genetic diversity through reduction of off take from the wild populations and through maximization of captive breeding programs and establishment of it will become more and more important to maintain genome resource banks across the entire captive population.’ (Marker, 2016, p.14).
Ashia is a contributing member of the International Cheetah Studbook and is a Conservation Partner of the Pan Africa Association of Zoo’s and Aquaria (PAAZA), an association that upholds best practice in the provision of supportive environments for the animals. All of our cheetahs have been DNA tested and we regularly invite representatives from South African Nature Conservation (Cape Nature) to visit our project and see that we are providing our animals with the best possible care. We also hold a PAPA License issued by the State Veterinarian to confirm that we meet the standards of animal welfare.
The welfare of our animals will always come first. Happy animals show less signs of stress and in turn this helps to ensure active, confident and healthy cats. Education and research are also of paramount importance to ensure their future survival for generations to come. Our tours focus on educating the public on conservation, of the threats faced by each species as well as the status quo of our cheetah release program.
We understand that the volunteers joining us are driven by the motivation to support us in our efforts for animal welfare and protection and we respect that motivation. We provide a safe environment for both the program participants and the animals.
Stephan Illenberger, Chantal Rischard & Riana Van Nieuwenhuizen
Co-Founders and Directors of Ashia
Dr. Marker, Laurie, 2015 International Cheetah Studbook, Cheetah Conservation Fund, 2016.