Conservation at Cheetah Experience
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 7,100, down from around 100,000 in 1900. The cheetah is also now confined to 9% of their historical distributional range.
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 is dedicated to fighting for the future survival of the cheetah by focusing in particular on education and research.
At Cheetah Experience 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.
Provide a safe sanctuary for rescued and retired animals or those that need special care.
Raise awareness of the vulnerability of endangered and threatened species through educational experiences we offer to visitors
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 and other endangered and threatened species, contribute to the conservation of this precious species, and promote the conservation of the cheetah in their own communities.
Support future genetic diversity of the cheetah through DNA Testing and breeding in scientifically based ethical programs.
Some of our achievements
We work closely with other ethical and responsible cheetah breeding programs and our cheetahs are all DNA tested and part of a Global Studbook. This enables us to carefully select which cheetahs to breed to enhance the next generations' fitness and diversity. Watch this video to learn more about DNA testing:
The successful release of one of our cheetahs 'Jasmine'. See the video of her release here:
Working with a project in South America to assist in the relocation of several cheetahs needing new homes
Riana was a director at Ashia Cheetah Conservation and we have worked closely with them in the rewilding process of several of our cheetahs (Jasmine, Aero, Ivory). Ashia bought these cheetahs as we were financially limited, but we were able to assist Ashia in moving them to the protected wild at Kuzuku Lodge
26 of our cheetahs have gone on to be a part of other ethical and responsible cheetah breeding projects and education programs in South Africa.
Responsible Wildlife Conservation
Cheetah Experience unreservedly condemns the practices of the canned lion/hunting industry. Canned hunting is the act of breeding wild animals for the purposes of being killed by trophy hunters. Hunters slaughter these innocent animals within an enclosed space where the animal has no chance of escape. The three male lions we have at Cheetah Experience, Max, Acinonyx and Napoleon are all non-breeding males, and we have no lionesses 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 Cheetah Experience we do not condone cub petting/cub 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.
Support Conservation in South Africa
Cheetah Experience is a non-profit organisation that does not receive government funding. We rely on the generosity of our Global Volunteer & Intern Family, current volunteers and interns, sponsors and visitors to our project, so we can continue to provide our animals with the best possible care.
How You Can Support Cheetah Experience
There are a number of ways you can support Cheetah Experience and our animals:
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.