Ashia is a not-for-profit organisation that strives to raise awareness of not only cheetah, but other endangered small and big cats. As the cheetah has become Africa’s most endangered cat, ethical breeding in captivity has become necessary. A study published recently by the Zoological Society of London has confirmed that cheetah numbers have crashed. The world’s fastest land animal is sprinting toward extinction, now covering only 23% of their historic range in Africa. Read the full article here.
Factors that are threatening their survival include:
• Ongoing growth of human populations and unsustainable consumer lifestyles.
• Loss of habitat and decrease of prey.
• Conflict with farmers over livestock.
• Illegal wildlife trade & poaching.
• Reduced ability to survive in protected areas due to the presence of bigger predators like lion.
• Fragmentation of population leading to inbreeding and number depletions.
• Lack of self-sustaining captive population.
• Lack of education.
Unfortunately, some of these facts cannot be reversed as the human population continues to grow and use more land. However, with education and awareness, it can be managed.
What can be done, and what does it mean to be involved in conservation?
Can successful and responsible breeding of cheetahs be called conservation?
Yes! Given the rapid decline in cheetah numbers, safeguarding their genetic diversity is crucial for their survival. Along with DNA testing, captive breeding in ethical, scientifically based programmes plays an integral role in cheetah conservation. Increasing cheetah numbers provides a safety net against the possibility of extinction in unprotected areas. It is important to study breeding behaviours and health related matters to aid wild populations.
When more people are aware of the dire situation that cheetahs face, they will work to conserve them. Ashia’s purpose is to educate – the Ashia Education Centre allows for hosting of schools at the farm, to share the objectives of the project and nurture a culture of cheetah awareness. The centre also allows for informative lectures and hosting leading conservation players and university researchers that are willing to share the latest news in conservation.
Ashia supports universities in their research efforts, allowing them space to conduct conservation studies and to gather research. Our volunteer house is thus not only dedicated to local and international volunteers, but also to scientists.
So, where does the money go?
Nothing leaves the project, all profits are used to fund and support wildlife conservation. The annual budget backs either cheetah rewilding initiatives and research projects or new technologies (GPS tracking devices, acoustic monitoring, long-lasting batteries for camera traps etc.) that can benefit conservation programmes. We are truly grateful to all our supporters but refuse to rely solely on donations, grants or fundraising schemes. Ashia will continuously seek out new business models and ideas to raise the funds in a sustainable manner. Donations are however always encouraged and appreciated.
We love to share our passion for African cats in a safe and beautiful environment. Our enclosures are double to triple the required size as determined by Cape Nature, the volunteer house was designed with luxury in mind, and our stylish and spacious guest accommodation welcomes the well-heeled traveller. With the mighty Drakenstein Mountains watching over, our sustainable farm is a sight for sore eyes.
Our project is one of passion, dedicated and driven. We are a business – but our aim is credible conservation. Founded to help to prevent the further decline of the cheetah population, Ashia Cheetah Conservation NPC is wilding & releasing captive-born cheetahs into a protected wild by partnering with carefully selected private game reserves.