A “hand-in-paw” journey
CCFA’s commitment to community empowerment through our Cheetah Rewilding Project is that for every cheetah we rewild, we empower a community member. With the arrival of our first captive cheetah around the corner, we are pleased to introduce our first ‘Cheetah Champion’, Anele Ntshiyane.
Anele is a 28-year-old mother of two from the township of KwaNobuhle, which borders Nyosi Wildlife Reserve, home to our CCFA Legacy Project in Nelson Mandela Bay. She provides a glimpse into her family life growing up, “I grew up in a family that is warm, living with my mother and sister. My mother passed on in 2016, so I now I live with my siblings and my two boys.”
A Greener future
In 2021 Anele was selected as part of a group of 20 youths from KwaNobuhle to participate in our youth development initiative – specifically the Siyazenzela Livelihoods, Leadership and Resilience course by Wilderness Foundation Africa. It was the first time this course was presented at Nyosi Wildlife Reserve. Anele found out about the course through a friend and jumped at the opportunity to send her CV and apply for a placement. This course forms part of our Greening Young Futures youth development initiative.
Reconnecting with Nature
Nyosi Wildlife Reserve was the perfect venue for fostering a connection with nature for the students. Home to at least four vegetation types, the land is rich in biodiversity which the CCFA and Nyosi teams are working to reinforce. Nyosi Wildlife Reserve is where Anele found her love for nature, especially as she was selected by our partner Indalo NPC for a six-month internship at the reserve after graduating from the Siyazenzela course. “This was a wake-up call for me as I knew little about plants, but through Indalo I got to learn a lot about plants through the planting programs we did through various schools in KwaNobuhle, playing our part in Greening the Community by planting a total of 600 trees,” Anele explains.
An Opportunity Earned
Anele impressed the management of Nyosi Wildlife Reserve and accepted an offer of employment as a guest relations officer. This is the perfect stepping stone to achieving her dream of becoming a safari field guide: “The dream of becoming a field guide came through the program. Learning about nature, the behaviour of the animals in the wild and actually physically being out in the wild – it became the place I want to be. My journey to becoming a field guide is a dream that I am most certain will come true.” As fate will have it, Anele’s journey to achieving her dream is linked with the journey of a specific cheetah.
Symbiosis with Wildlife
We are thrilled that Anele has been selected as our first ‘Cheetah Champion’. She will walk a ‘hand-in-paw’ journey with our first captive cheetah in our Cheetah Rewilding Program. Anele’s name for her cheetah companion is Nkanyiso, meaning ‘Light giver’ in Xhosa, as she will light the path for future captive cheetahs to follow in her rewilding tracks. Funds raised for this project will support both Nkanyiso’s rewilding journey and Anele’s journey to becoming a field guide. Anele will serve as an ambassador for wildlife conservation in her community and inspire other youths to explore careers in conservation.
How to support our Cheetah Rewilding Project
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