Guests’ enjoy learning more about Kaingo’s cheetah conservation program. South Africa is home to around 1,300 of the world’s roughly 7,100 remaining cheetahs. It’s also the only country in the world with significant cheetah population growth, thanks largely to a nongovernmental conservation project that depends on careful and intensive human management of small, fenced-in cheetah populations. Because most of the reserves are privately funded and properly fenced, the animals benefit from higher levels of security than in the increasingly thinly funded state reserves.
Initiated by the Endangered Wildlife Trust nearly a decade ago, the Cheetah Meta population Project recognizes that small cheetah populations may be physically secure in several small reserves, but the likelihood of inbreeding remains high if they are kept separated behind fences. By swapping animals between participating reserves, the trust helps private and state wildlife custodians manage overpopulation and under population on their land and identify new areas of suitable cheetah habitat. Most importantly, swapping animals reduces the risk of inbreeding among closely related animals.
The project began in 2011 and there are now 420+ cheetah spread across 60 reserves — more than a third of South Africa’s total cheetah population.