Meet the first ever cheetahs in our Rewilding Project

Meet the first ever cheetahs in our Rewilding Project

The first two cheetahs have arrived at Nyosi Wildlife Reserve!

Dubbed “the Kalahari siblings”, the brother and sister duo are beautiful and full of character but were separated from their mother at an early stage. They are now regaining their fitness and learning how to catch their own food.

We’re currently monitoring them around the clock, which can be challenging as they are very active and move large distances, but we love following their movements and seeing what they’re getting up to! Luckily, they are fitted with tracking devices which help us record their movements when they’re difficult to spot.

The arrival of these two cheetahs marks the start of our Cheetah Rewilding Project, an ambitious project to rewild as many captive cheetahs as possible while empowering community members. This is part of our larger vision to create a direct link of mutual benefit between endangered wildlife and local communities in southern Africa.

Following their three-month quarantine period and a 15-hour overnight journey by road, the young cheetahs have made great strides since arriving at the reserve, where they spent their first few weeks in a spacious enclosure. During this time, a local wildlife veterinarian fitted their tracking collars so that our conservation team can monitor their movements and activity. They have adapted well and are now thriving in their new home after being released from their spacious enclosure after three weeks. Our conservation team was delighted that they caught their own food within three days – a fully-grown Red Hartebeest!

They are monitored daily, and should they not catch their own food for a period of three days, we will provide food for them as they regain their fitness and hone their hunting skills. Although not captive-born cheetahs, the decision was made to enrol them in our Cheetah Rewilding Program as they were separated from their mother, and we want to ensure their readiness for translocation to a large reserve where there might be other predators. Because they are wild-born, we expect their rewilding phase to be under six months.

We plan to rehome them during the first quarter of 2023, with each cat going to separate reserves. This is important to prevent inbreeding and maintain the genetic diversity of this endangered species.

Stay tuned via social media and our website blog for further updates on the Kalahari siblings and the arrival of our first captive cheetah.

Additional information:

How to support our Cheetah Rewilding Project

Related Posts

Meet the first ever cheetahs in our Rewilding Project

Meet the first ever cheetahs in our Rewilding Project

The first two cheetahs have arrived at Nyosi Wildlife Reserve!Dubbed “the Kalahari siblings”, the brother and sister duo are beautiful and full of character but were separated from their mother at an early stage. They are now regaining their fitness and learning how...

read more
Cheetah Conservation Challenges

Cheetah Conservation Challenges

Why are cheetahs threatened?Cheetahs are the world's fastest land animals, capable of reaching speeds up to 70 miles per hour (113 kilometres per hour). However, their speed is not enough to save them from the threats they face. Cheetahs are listed as vulnerable by...

read more
CCFA celebrating Children’s Day 2020

CCFA celebrating Children’s Day 2020

The Declaration of the Rights of the Child, by the UN General Assembly, was announced on November 20, 1959 which is why Children’s Day in celebrated annually on this day. It is to honour the children of the world – our hope for the future and leaders of tomorrow.
This Children’s Day we’d like to salute all children but particularly the conservation warriors who are helping us build a better future

read more

Cheetah Rewilding Project

Cheetah Rewilding Project

Cheetah Rewilding Project

An ambitious project to rewild as many captive cheetahs as possible while empowering community members, therefore creating a direct link of mutual benefit between endangered wildlife and the community.

Project Overview

 

Project location: 
Nyosi Wildlife Reserve – Nelson Mandela Bay, Eastern Cape, South Africa

Project category: 
Conservation, Community

Project timeframe:
An active long-term initiative since October 2022.

 

Project Overview

 

Project location: 
Nyosi Wildlife Reserve – Nelson Mandla Bay, Eastern Cape, South Africa

Project category: 
Conservation, Community

Project timeframe:
An active long-term initiative since October 2022.

Project details

Long-term vision

To provide the best opportunity for as many captive cheetahs as possible to be rewilded for successful release into protected areas, in tandem with empowering local community members by:

    1. Managing a programme for cheetahs identified as suitable for rewilding in collaboration with our project partners
    2. Conducting the rewilding programme according to industry best practice, further contributing to the protocol standards 
    3. Providing the opportunity for research to be conducted for conservation purposes
    4. Releasing rewilded cheetahs into protected areas where either, the cheetahs integrate with an existing free-roaming population of cheetahs or establish a new population of cheetahs
    5. Contributing to the growth and genetic diversification of the existing cheetah population in Africa
    6. Empowering a local community member for every cheetah rewilded, through skills programmes, internships, or enterprise opportunities. These individuals are our Cheetah Champions.
Our Partners
  • The Cheetah Metapopulation Initiative 
The plight of cheetahs
  • Cheetahs experienced an 89% decrease in their population in their historic resident range
  • The remaining cheetahs became segregated into 29 subpopulations due to human expansion, compromising their genetic integrity
  • Conflict between cheetahs and humans escalated, particularly in livestock farming regions leading to further persecution of the species
  • A further challenge impacting the genetic integrity of cheetahs is the illegal breeding of cheetahs for the exotic pet trade
  • Cheetahs are listed as Vulnerable in the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species, but scientists are calling for cheetahs to be uplisted to Endangered, which will mean better protection measures
  • Of the 7100 cheetahs remaining in the world, only 1200-1700 live in South Africa
  • The above cheetah population numbers include captive and free-roaming cheetah
  • There are also over 600 cheetahs in captivity in South Africa
  • There is growing concern over the destiny of these captive cheetahs
  • Some of these captive cheetahs are managed for release into protected areas where they can integrate with free-roaming populations

Read more in our blog: Cheetah conservation challenges

Cheetahs in the Eastern Cape

The last known historical record of an Eastern Cape cheetah was around 1888 when two cheetahs were killed in the Albany District about 35km north of Grahamstown. With the establishment of the province as a wildlife destination, which began in the early 1990s, cheetahs have been returned to the region as private wildlife reserves emerged. Through this Cheetah Rewilding Project, the first free-roaming cheetahs within the Nelson Mandela Bay Metro will receive a chance to thrive.
The habitat at Nyosi Wildlife Reserve has been identified as suitable for these big cats, with the grassy Fynbos areas providing the perfect hunting arenas.

About the cheetah metapopulation

The Cheetah Metapopulation Initiative coordinates and manages the cheetah metapopulation project which was launched in response to the drastic decline in cheetah numbers. In 2011, the Endangered Wildlife Trust launched the Cheetah Metapopulation Project. A major goal of the project is to encourage further reintroductions as well as to streamline and regulate relocations between the fragmented metapopulation reserves. The project provides reserve managers with best practice guidelines for cheetah reintroduction, based on experience gained from almost 70 Cheetah reintroduction attempts.

The cheetah rewilding process

This Cheetah Rewilding Program forms the intermediate phase of the cheetah rewilding process.

  1. In the captive facilities, captive cheetahs are cared for, gradually moved onto a natural diet, and provided with enrichment and exercise. The exercise involves the cheetah chasing a fast-moving lure to keep the cheetahs fit and hone their hunting instincts
  2. One to three cheetahs at a time are then relocated to Nyosi Wildlife Reserve for a soft-release programme designed to maximise their success for the third phase being their final release. On arrival, the captive cheetahs spend several weeks in a large enclosure before being released to roam the 2,500-hectare wildlife reserve. In the case of two or three male cheetahs, they will undergo a bonding process to encourage the formation of a coalition which will better improve their chances of survival in Phase 3. The cheetahs will be fitted with tracking devices so that their movements can be monitored and recorded. While at Nyosi, the cheetah will have the opportunity to hunt free-roaming antelope and become self-sufficient. They are intensively monitored by our conservation and research teams and when they are consistently feeding themselves, they can be relocated to their final home. It is expected that their rewilding phase at Nyosi will take 6 – 12 months per cheetah intake, depending on the progress of the cheetahs.
  3. The cheetahs will be transported to a selected partner reserve for their final release. On arrival at the reserve, they will be kept in an enclosure to acclimatise to their new habitat for several days before being released.

Our rewilding programme will then become available for the rewilding of further captive cheetahs, with the next intake having been planned in advance.

Project goals

2023 Goals
  • Rehome the two Kalahari Sibling cheetahs to different reserves within the first quarter of 2023
  • Select the first Cheetah Champion (community beneficiary) of our Cheetah Rewilding Project
  • Activate a fundraising campaign
  • Enrol the first captive cheetah in our Cheetah Rewilding Project
  • Rehome the first cheetah after 6-12 months in the rewilding project
  • Implement the first Cheetah Champion empowerment initiative
Fundraising target for 2023
  • R800,000: Rewild our first captive cheetah 
  • R200,000: Empower our first Cheetah Champion through an accredited skills programme 

Project updates

The Kalahari siblings
  • The first two cheetahs were welcomed to Nyosi Wildlife Reserve on 29 October 2022. The brother and sister duo from a large reserve in the Kalahari region were separated from their mother too early and after spending three months in a quarantine facility in the Limpopo Province of South Africa, they were transported to Nyosi.
  • Vincent van der Merwe of The Cheetah Metapopulation Initiative ensure their safe 15-hour overnight trip was a safe one.
  • A local wildlife veterinarian fitted their tracking collars on 18 November 2022 so that our conservation team can monitor their movements and activity.
  • The cheetahs were released from their holding enclosure on 23 November 2022. Our conservation team was delighted that they caught their own food on 26 November 2022 – a fully-grown Red Hartebeest
  • They are monitored daily and should they not catch their own food for a period of three days, we will provide food for them as they regain their fitness and hone their hunting skills. Although not captive-born cheetahs, the decision was made to enrol them in our Cheetah Rewilding Project as they were separated from their mother, and we want to ensure their readiness for translocation to a large reserve where there might be other predators. Because they are wild-born, we expect their rewilding phase to be under six months.
  • We plan to rehome them during the first quarter of 2023, with each cat going to separate reserves. This is important to prevent inbreeding and maintain the genetic diversity of this endangered species.

Read more in our blog: Meet the first ever cheetahs in our rewilding project

Our first captive cheetah
  • Our project partners have identified a four-year-old female cheetah to enrol in our cheetah rewilding programme. She is a captive-born cheetah at a facility in the Limpopo province of South Africa. 
  • Once the Kalahari siblings have been rehomed, we will translocate her to Nyosi where she will spend a few weeks in the enclosure to get used to her new surroundings, before being released onto the reserve. 
  • In the meantime, she is slowly being transitioned onto a natural diet of antelope meat and we are applying to the authorities for the required permits, a process which must be followed before moving wildlife between sites. 
  • We have also selected our first Cheetah Champion – a local community member who will be empowered as her cheetah companion goes through the rewilding process. 
Our first Cheetah Champion
  • CCFA commits to empowering a community member for each cheetah that is rewilded at Nyosi Wildlife Reserve. 
  • Our first Cheetah Champion is Anele Ntshiyane, a 28-year-old aspiring field guide from the KwaNObuhle township along the northern boundary of the Nyosi Wildlife Reserve. 
  • We have walked a path together with Anele since October 2021, when she was selected as one of 20 participants in our youth development course. Anele impressed the team and was selected by our partners, Indalo NPC, for a six-month internship at the reserve which was completed in August 2022. Anele then accepted an offer of employment at the reserve, working in hospitality. 
  • Being an aspiring field guide, Anele is in the process of obtaining her driver’s licence and learning as much as possible from the conservation team.
  • The funds raised through the first cheetah rewilding project will enable Anele to attend a 10-week field guide course endorsed by the Field Guides Association of Southern Africa. The skills programme is recognised within the National Qualifications Framework of South Africa and represents the first step to beginning a career in field guiding. 
  • Throughout our first cheetah’s rewilding, Anele will participate in regularly tracking and monitoring her cheetah companion and serve as an ambassador in her community for wildlife conservation, helping to spread the message about the importance of preserving our precious biodiversity.

     

Image Gallery

 

Contribution to the Sustainable Development Goals

The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), also known as the Global Goals, were adopted by the United Nations in 2015 as a universal call to action to end poverty, protect the planet, and ensure that by 2030 all people enjoy peace and prosperity. The 17 SDGs are integrated – they recognize that action in one area will affect outcomes in others and that development must balance social, economic and environmental sustainability.

How to support this project

Donate

Energize a cheetah for the sprint

Nyosi Conservation Program

Nyosi Conservation Program

CCFA endorses and supports the conservation programme at Nyosi Wildlife Reserve in the biodiversity-rich Eastern Cape of South Africa. This is an ambitious project to restore this urban pocket of biodiversity with community partnerships being central to the approach. The project approach is one of integrated community-benefit conservation, where we focus on care of the land and ecosystems, social and community initiatives, and wildlife and biodiversity.

Project Overview

 

About Nyosi Wildlife Reserve

Nyosi Wildlife Reserve is a pristine nature reserve located at the heart of what conservation icon Dr Ian Player identified as the “new wilderness frontier”. Being the first big game wildlife reserve situated within two major urban centres, we have a duty to protect this land, whilst using it as a showcase for eco-tourism and community-benefit conservation.

Nyosi Wildlife Reserve is protected as a nature reserve through a Protected Area Management Agreement with the Eastern Cape Parks and Tourism Agency, under the National Environmental Management Act over a 30-year term.

Project Overview

 

About Nyosi Wildlife Reserve
Nyosi Wildlife Reserve is a pristine nature reserve located at the heart of what conservation icon Dr Ian Player identified as the “new wilderness frontier”.
Nyosi Wildlife Reserve is protected as a nature reserve through a Protected Area Management Agreement with the Eastern Cape Parks and Tourism Agency, under the National Environmental Management Act over a 30-year term.
Being the first big game wildlife reserve situated within two major urban centres, we have a duty to protect this land, whilst using it as a showcase for eco-tourism and community-benefit conservation.

Nyosi Conservation Program: Projects

Restoring the Biodiversity
  • Elephants, cheetahs, buffalo, rhino and antelope are all being reintroduced as part of the mission to restore the biodiversity and the land.
  • The land has undergone extensive and ongoing restoration over the last decade to eradicate alien invasive vegetation, introduce native species and address challenges like soil erosion, all as part of caring for the land.
  • Over the last decade, certain species like giraffe, springbok and eland have already been reintroduced.
Cheetah rewilding
  • The arrival of cheetahs at Nyosi heralds the start of our cheetah rewilding project in collaboration with The Metapopulation Initiative, which coordinates the cheetah metapopulation project for Africa.
  • Captive cheetahs arrive to spend a few weeks in a purpose-built enclosure before being released on the reserve.
  • This provides them with the rewilding opportunity where they will learn to hunt for themselves.
  • Once they are consistently making successful kills, as monitored through our research programme, they will be relocated to their final home on larger predetermined wildlife reserves where they can integrate with existing populations of cheetah or pioneer new populations.
  • For every cheetah rewilded, a community member is empowered, whether it be through an internship opportunity, skills programme or employment opportunity.
Research Centre
  • CCFA are looking to raise funds to bring the vision of a multifaceted research centre at Nyosi to life.
  • Plans include a veterinary clinic, research laboratory, interactive educational museum, an auditorium and a wildlife rehabilitation facility.
  • The centre will form the hub of the Nyosi Conservation Programme, including educational outreach initiatives.
Community Academy
  • Our vision includes an off-grid eco-campus to be the heart of our community partnerships programme.
  • With facilities for meetings, classes and hands-on learning opportunities, this centre will help catalyse our social impact.
Rhino Conservation
  • Contributing to the future of these iconic animals is a conservation priority.
  • Two male white rhinos will be initially introduced with a female joining at a later stage to mark the beginning of a rhino breeding programme.
  • Part of our vision includes the introduction of black rhinos down the line.

Legacy Projects

Cheetah Rewilding Project

Cheetah Rewilding Project

Cheetah Rewilding ProjectAn ambitious project to rewild as many captive cheetahs as possible while empowering community members, therefore creating a direct link of mutual benefit between endangered wildlife and the community.Project Overview   Project...

read more
Greening Young Futures

Greening Young Futures

Greening Young FuturesWe recognize the need for education, empowerment and opportunity for our youth who hold tomorrow’s future in their hands. Project Overview   Project location: Nyosi Wildlife Reserve – Nelson Mandela Bay, Eastern Cape, South Africa Project...

read more
Greening the Community

Greening the Community

Greening the CommunityGreening the Community is a long-term empowerment and environmental sustainability initiative for the local community of Kwa Nobuhle in Nelson Mandela Bay, Eastern Cape to drive environmental awareness practices at grass roots levels. It is...

read more

How to support these projects

Donate

Donate

Greening Young Futures

Greening Young Futures

Greening Young Futures

We recognize the need for education, empowerment and opportunity for our youth who hold tomorrow’s future in their hands.

Project Overview

 

Project location: 
Nyosi Wildlife Reserve – Nelson Mandela Bay, Eastern Cape, South Africa

Project category: 
Sustainability, Community

Project timeframe:
An active long-term initiative commencing in 2023.
*The first youth development course was hosted in 2021 under our Greening the Community project after which we were inspired towards an initiative dedicated to youth development.

 

Project Overview

 

Project location: 
Nyosi Wildlife Reserve – Nelson Mandla Bay, Eastern Cape, South Africa

Project category: 
Sustainability, Community

Project timeframe:
An active long-term initiative commencing in 2023.
*The first youth development course was hosted in 2021 under our Greening the Community project after which we were inspired towards an initiative dedicated to youth development.

 

Project vision

Long-term vision for Greening Young Futures
  • Create personal empowerment in vulnerable youth through education and upskilling
  • Create tangible opportunities for these youth to pursue
Our Partners
  • Indalo NPC
  • Wilderness Foundation Africa
  • Ulovane Environmental Training

Project goals

2023 Goals
  • Enroll 20 students into the Siyazenzela course by Wilderness Foundation Africa
  • Provide two internships at Nyosi Wildlife Reserve for graduates selected by Indalo
  • Enroll 2022 intern in a FGASA-endorsed field guiding course
Fundraising target for 2023
  • R350,000: Siyazenzela Livelihoods, Leadership and Resilience Course delivered by Wilderness Foundation Africa
  • R62,500: Two 6-month internships with Indalo NPC at Nyosi Wildlife Reserve with a focus on conservation, ecotourism and hospitality
  • R150,000: FGASA-accredited course for 2022 intern and aspiring field guide with Ulovane Environmental Training

Project updates

Updates and progress
  • The Siyanzenzela course is being planned to take place in February of 2023 with funding received from the 2022 Nedbank South Africa Charity Golf Day that is hosted in the UK by SAINT (South Africans In Need Trust) each year.
  • We are campaigning for the funding required to achieve our remaining 2023 goals of two internships and enrolling our 2022 intern in an accredited field guiding course.
Image Gallery
Contribution to the Sustainable Development Goals

The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), also known as the Global Goals, were adopted by the United Nations in 2015 as a universal call to action to end poverty, protect the planet, and ensure that by 2030 all people enjoy peace and prosperity. The 17 SDGs are integrated—they recognize that action in one area will affect outcomes in others, and that development must balance social, economic and environmental sustainability.

How to support this project

Donate

Greening the Community

Greening the Community

Greening the Community

Greening the Community is a long-term empowerment and environmental sustainability initiative for the local community of Kwa Nobuhle in Nelson Mandela Bay, Eastern Cape to drive environmental awareness practices at grass roots levels. It is designed to inspire change and encourage young people in particular to play their part in ensuring a prosperous future for all.

Project Overview

 

Project location: 
Nyosi Wildlife Reserve, Kwa Nobuhle – Nelson Mandela Bay, Eastern Cape, South Africa

Project category: 
Sustainability, Community, Conservation

Project timeframe:
This project commenced in 2019 and is a long-term initiative with ongoing fundraising.

 

Overview

 

Project location: 
Nyosi Wildlife Reserve, Kwa Nobuhle – Nelson Mandela Bay, Eastern Cape, South Africa

Project category: 
Sustainability, Community, Conservation

Project timeframe:
This project commenced in 2019 and is a long-term initiative with ongoing fundraising.

Project partners:

  • Indalo NPC
  • Wilderness Foundation Africa
  •  

Project Vision:

  • For Indalo to open and sustain a nursery in Kwa Nobuhle
  • Create empowerment and upskill people
  • Preserve the biocultural landscape
  • Educate our youth
  • To see a visible Greening of the Kwa Nobuhle landscape
  • To spark public interest through an annual fundraising event

Project vision

Long-term vision for Greening the Community
  • For Indalo to open and sustain a nursery in Kwa Nobuhle
  • Create empowerment and upskill people
  • Preserve the biocultural landscape
  • Educate our youth
  • To see a visible Greening of the Kwa Nobuhle landscape
  • To spark public interest through an annual fundraising event
Project Partners
• Indalo NPC
• Wilderness Foundation Africa

Project goals

Phase 2: 2023 onward
  • Plant 500+ trees annually in the township of Kwa Nobuhle
  • Involve 500+ school pupils in environmental awareness workshops during tree-planting events
  • Host 130+ school pupils for conservation day trips to Nyosi Wildlife Reserve
  • Host an annual tree-planting and fundraising event

*Going forward, Greening the Community goals will focus on the tree-planting and environmental awareness for school pupils at the participating schools. We will continue with the Siyazenzela course and internship programme under our Youth Development Initiative.

Phase 1: 2019 - 2022
  • Plant 600 trees in the township of Kwa Nobuhle by mid-2022
  • Enrol 20 students from Kwa Nobuhle in the Siyazenzela Life Skills and Employability Program in 2021
  • Provide internships for two selected graduates for six months with Indalo at Nyosi Wildlife Reserve in 2022
  • Indalo to open a nursery in Kwa Nobuhle
Fundraising target for 2023
  • R190,000+ for tree-planting and environmental awareness workshops. For every R380 donated we can plant a tree at one of our participating partner schools in Kwa Nobuhle. Trees will be planted during a set timeframe each year to coincide with our annual tree-planting event.
  • R62,500: Conservation day-trips for school pupils from the Kwa Nobuhle township to experience natural heritage and wildlife. For every R12,500 donated, we can host a group of 26 pupils with 4 teachers on a day trip to Nyosi Wildlife Reserve, including transport, an educational game drive safari, interactive activities with Indalo and lunch.

Project updates

Phase 1: 2019 - 2022
  • We exceeded our goal of planting 600 trees in the township of Kwa Nobuhle by mid-2022 in 12 different schools. Over 300 school pupils attended the different tree planting days, benefitting from environmental and biocultural awareness delivered by the Indalo and CCFA teams. Indalo selected the school who took the best care of their trees and a class of 30 students from VM Kwinana School enjoyed an educational safari day with lunch at Nyosi Wildlife Reserve with Indalo.
  • CCFA hosted a fundraising event in Nelson Mandela Bay called ‘Everesting’ where ultra-athlete Steven Lancaster undertook this epic challenge in aid of the project. With the Everesting concept, you pick a hill, anywhere in the world and then run or ride repeats of it, in a single activity, until you have climbed 8 849m – the equivalent ascent of Mount Everest. During the 24-hour period, Lancaster aimed to summit Brickmakers Kloof Road 165 times. Each summit was 700m long with a 63m elevation. The average gradient is a challenging 9% but tops out at 12% in the first 300m. (The steepest gradient in the Tour de France is 13%). His ‘Mount Everest’ was reached after 141 summits; However, he aimed to run further and achieved a height of 10 000m.
  • We enrolled 20 students from Kwa Nobuhle in the Siyazenzela Life Skills and Employability Programme in 2021
  • We provided six-month internships for two graduates selected by Indalo at Nyosi Wildlife Reserve in 2022. One of the interns accepted an offer of permanent employment at the Reserve following her internship and she is an aspiring field guide.
  • Indalo have revised their goal of opening a nursery in Kwa Nobuhle, and continue to operate their nursery at Nyosi Wildlife Reserve.
Image Gallery
Contribution to the Sustainable Development Goals

The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), also known as the Global Goals, were adopted by the United Nations in 2015 as a universal call to action to end poverty, protect the planet, and ensure that by 2030 all people enjoy peace and prosperity. The 17 SDGs are integrated—they recognize that action in one area will affect outcomes in others, and that development must balance social, economic and environmental sustainability.

How to support this project

Donate

Sponsor a tree