The conservation status of cheetah in Africa is listed as threatened, however in some areas in South Africa and neighbouring countries, cheetah are still getting regularly removed by farmers with little knowledge of the genetic development of the species in the area. It took 4 million years of evolution for the cheetah to become the exceptional animal it is today and only 100 years for man to put it on the endangered list. At the turn of the 20th century an estimated 100, 000 cheetahs roamed throughout Africa, parts of the Middle East and Central Asia. Today it is estimated that there are only 7,500 cheetahs left in the wild and South Africa is home to fewer than 1,000 of these majestic cats.
Gondwana offers 11 000 hectares (27 181 acres) of open country that provides perfect habitat and facilities for a sustainable cheetah population. Gondwana’s electrified perimeter fence (2,4 meters high) protects the species from the surrounding farms and creates a haven for animals within its boundaries. The reserve, removed from poaching or legal hunting provides the perfect area for these cheetah to have the natural freedom they require. Gondwana’s habitat consists of Fynbos, renosterveld, wide nutrient rich valleys covered in Acacia Karroo thickets, and many previously cultivated lands creating thousands of hectares of suitable plains throughout the reserve. The ability to provide sufficient diet is mandatory, and the reserve supports key prey species for Cheetah such as; Red Hartebeest, Impala, Bushbuck and Ostrich.
Gondwana’s main objective is to actively participate in a sustainable breeding program of free roaming Cheetah in the Western Cape. The initial priority is to establish a base population from which to initiate the project. The base/initial population have been identified and come from a credible breeding program within the Western Cape. This initial population will consist of two males (brother coalition) and a single female. The base population will grow to a sustainable number both environmentally and genetically and once ecological capacity has been reached at Gondwana, we will work to distribute wild populations to other suitable reserves within the Western Cape and other participating provinces and countries in Southern Africa. Effective population management necessarily requires collaborative input from a wide range of stakeholders, and strong coordination is essential to ensure that conservation targets are met. A meta-population approach has been recommended to address key issues caused by the fragmentation of cheetah populations that can facilitate the safeguarding of genetic and demographic integrity of the species thereby ensuring the long term persistence of this threatened species.