In this must watch video, Mark Palmer, manager of Amakhala Game Reserve, tells how it’s relocation initiative has brought free-roaming cheetahs back to many provinces, and how Amakhala’s own female cheetah, which was relocated to Malawi in 2017, gave birth to cheetah cubs - the first wild cubs to be born in the country in over 20 years!
These are significant conservation milestones and big wins for our cheetah, a unique and irreplaceable part of our African heritage, which has for many years featured on the endangered species list.
Only an estimated 6000 – 7000 adult cheetah are still alive in the wild today, with less than 2000 cheetahs in South Africa, due to the tragic loss of 90% of the cheetahs original habitat to human encroachment. This has placed severe pressure on protected areas and natural resources for this phenomenal big cat, including hunting, habitat loss, predation and increased competition amongst themselves for ever-fewer resources. Quite simply, the fastest animal on land has nowhere to go, and the few last remaining free cheetahs are exiled to the outskirts of unprotected areas, behind man-made fences erected to prevent them from entering areas where they are treated as a pestilence.
Cheetahs are one of the key conservation priorities for Amakhala Game Reserve, and the Amakhala team is proud to be involved in the Cheetah Metapopulation Project spearheaded by Africa Parks, in conjunction with the Endangered Wildlife Trust (EWT), to relocate wild cheetahs together to safer havens.
Thanks to this – and other cheetah conservation efforts - the South African wild cheetah population is reaching new levels, thriving in safe spaces - not separated by roads, fences and human intervention - where they are free to roam and enjoy long-term protection. In addition, the long-term genetic diversity of the cheetah metapopulation is being managed by spreading the gene pool and avoiding weakening of the species with inter-breeding, protecting our African wildlife heritage for our children and their children.