Despite their status as the fastest land mammal on earth, cheetah are fast running out of time with an estimated 9,000 to 12,000 remaining in the wild. The cheetah once ranged throughout all of Africa and across all of Asia.Today, cheetah are only found in Africa and a few small, isolated pockets of land in Iran.
Australia Zoo Wildlife Warriors are working in partnership with Endangered Wildlife Trust (EWT) in South Africa to track and relocate problem cheetah away from local villages. We are proud to assist the efforts of EWT's crucial program in securing the future of this threatened and truly magnificent big cat.
Australia Zoo Wildlife Warriors are also working in partnership with Cheetah Outreach in South Africa, supporting the Anatolian Shepherd Dog Program, working to reduce human/cheetah conflict. Human/cheetah conflict is the biggest threat to their survival.
Endangered Wildlife Trust
Australia Zoo Wildlife Warriors is working in partnership with Endangered Wildlife Trust in South Africa. Through the vital research they have conducted and their facilitation of a cheetah tracking program, they are helping to educate farmers on the cheetah’s natural habits. EWT’s research has found that the cheetah is a nomadic animal and often only crosses the same property once every two weeks, proving to farmers that a cheetah may not even be in the area when their livestock has been killed. This information is helping to change the tide and is producing a number of ‘cheetah friendly’ farmers. In exchange for a small fee, these ‘friendly’ farmers contact EWT when a cheetah is located on their property, and rather than killing the animal, they assist EWT to capture and relocate the cheetah to a safe area.
To date, EWT have successfully relocated over 100 wild cheetah. The cheetah are fitted with a radio collar and tracking system, which will send SMS messages containing regular location reports and updates.
The release of the cheetah is filmed and will be available on the website to those who support this extremely worthwhile cause. This footage is used to promote awareness of the plight of these amazing creatures, and their struggle for survival in the wild.
EWT also has a comprehensive educational program, visiting local schools with their ambassador cheetah. These ambassador cheetah are trained to go to schools and are utilized to educate the young locals on the threats to their survival. EWT also have a Livestock Guarding Dog Program - read more below.
In 2007, Australia Zoo Wildlife Warriors commenced a new partnership with Cheetah Outreach to help expand their innovative Anatolian Shepherd Dog Program which is working to reduce the human/cheetah conflict in South Africa.
The Anatolian Shepherd Dog Program provides farmers with a non-lethal method of managing predators, therefore promoting a much happier co-existence with the cheetah.From 6 weeks of age, these impressive dogs are raised exclusively with their herd, their job being to bark and posture to scare the predator away. Cheetah are quick to retreat from a barking dog.
Farmers in South Africa can now allow the Shepherd to guard the livestock and not be encouraged to shoot or kill the cheetah when seen in the area. This program is at no cost to the farmers.
To date the Cheetah Outreach Anatolian Shepherd Dogs have defended their flocks against baboons, jackals, caracals, cheetahs, leopards and even humans.
Support Cheetah Conservation
If you would like to help protect the cheetah in the wild you can make a tax-deductible donation to Australia Zoo Wildlife Warriors. We appreciate your support. Below is a list of items you will help support with your donation:
$10 feeds one Anatolian Shepherd Dog for one week
$20 protects one Anatolian Shepherd Dog against ticks and fleas for one month
$60 provides all food and medical supplies for one Anatolian Shepherd Dog for one month
$70 pays for veterinary costs for one injured cheetah
$105 pays for food for one week for a rescued cheetah
$350 pays for petrol and a full set of resources for one visit to 10 underprivileged schools with an Ambassador Cheetah for educational purposes
A weight has recently been lifted off the shoulders of our partners at Cheetah Outreach. One of South Africa's top pharmaceutical companies heard of the recurring problems with tick infestations in the Anatolian Shepherd Dogs and has offered their product for testing and improving to combat the issue. They have also offered a deworming product for use within the programme, specifically formulated to kill the spirurid nematode Spirocerca lupi that occurs in the Kalahari area of South Africa where the programme is based (Bray, Tosca and Vostershoop).
We are also happy to report that there were no serious injuries or any deaths this past month and that all the dogs have performed well. More evidence of cheetah on farms where Anatolians have been placed has been collected than ever before, with more sightings, tracks and scat reported by farmers. This news is significant and validates our conservation efforts.
From the early 1960s the cheetah was regarded as an endangered species. Today in South Africa, the cheetah is critically endangered, with estimates of only 600-800 cheetahs remaining in the South African wild. As a hunter and meat-eater, the cheetah is constantly in competition with humans, and particularly with farmers of livestock. The cheetah is regularly killed by farmers who believe they are responsible for the killing of their livestock. Today, the cheetah has been exterminated from large parts of its natural habitat, and even in the wild is rarely encountered.
Like all predators, the cheetah helps to maintain a balance of other species. If the cheetah were to disappear, other species would multiply unnaturally, creating an imbalance in nature. This in turn would have a profound effect on biodiversity, leading to serious ecological problems.