Globally, the cheetah population is plummeting due to habitat loss and human-wildlife conflict; in 1900, there were 100,000 cheetahs in the wild. Today, experts estimate only ~10,000 remain.
Two hours outside of Cape Town, South Africa, one safari company is doing its part to help the cheetah population. Inverdoorn Game Reserve and its nonprofit research arm, Western Cape Cheetah Conservation has rescued 14 cheetahs, with the ultimate goal of rehabilitating and getting the cheetahs back into the wild. According to head of the WCCC, Lisa Kytösaho, the financial structure at Inverdoorn gives the organization freedom to put the animals first.
“The funds from safaris go toward the cheetah; we have a split budget which is why we don’t have to put pressure on the cheetah to meet with people. We have the luxury to do things the way we want while still being able to provide them the best care, food and life.”
Through training exercises like runs where cheetah chase a cloth and get rewarded with food, the WCCC has a slow and steady rehabilitation process to help the cheetah reenter the wild. Guests can watch these training runs, providing an unobtrusive yet unique way to experience these animals. To date, the WCCC has successfully released two cheetah into the free-roaming reserve.
To learn more about the Western Cape Cheetah Conservation program and how you can help, visit inverdoorn.com/capecheetah/.
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