CGF Cheetah Re-wilding Program
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 there are less than 7000 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 Springbuck.
The GCF’s main objective is to develop a sustainable breeding program of free roaming Cheetah in the Western Cape. The aim is to establish a population of cheetah who can co-exist with lions, be fence respecting, and who are tourist habituated.
The Cheetah re-wilding program introduced Zee (male) and Zimbini (female) to a 500 hectare section of the reserve which was fenced off from the lions. Here they were able to hunt freely without the threat of other carnivores. After Zimbini suffered injuries from a bushpig attack Zee was moved to Dinokeng to form part of their metapopulation. While on Dinokeng he fathered a number of offspring of which two females were then sent to Gondwana Game Reserve to complete the re-wilding journey of our cheetahs. There are currently free roaming male and female cheetahs on Gondwana Game Reserve, the hope is that they will have cubs and further contribute to the Cheetah metapopulation in South Africa.
There are less than 7000 cheetahs left in the wild today. We need to act now to prevent these incredible animals from becoming yet another extinct species.
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