Cheetahs Endangered Wildlife Trust wins prestigious international award
Photo Cred: Endangered Wildlife Trust

The Cheetah sanctuary relies on tourism to survive as well as local hunting game farms who kindly donate off-cuts from hunting trips, but this has all come to an abrupt halt for almost 150 days now.

 

South Africa (17 August 2020) – A group of South Africans who had gone hunting over the weekend, heard about a Cheetah sanctuary near their game farm, and were utterly heartbroken… their story shocked me to the core – not because of the state of these animals – but because it made me realise that this lockdown is so much bigger than you and me.

It was like a lightbulb went off.

There are currently less than 600 wild Cheetahs left in South Africa and only 7100 left in the world. This number is absolutely harrowing considering that N. Myers stated in an IUCN publication that the population stood at over 100 000 at the start of the 1900s. This means that in just 120 years, the number of wild Cheetah had diminished by over 90 000.

The “Running Wild Conservation” (near Sun City in South Africa) works on rescuing, rehabilitating, rewilding and repopulating the incredible species to help with their dwindling numbers, and have done an incredible job of this for many years.

“With less than 7100 Cheetahs left worldwide, the urgency to repopulate the dwindling numbers has become apparent. This is the main objective behind the Running Wild Foundation. With a combined ten years of experience in breeding Cheetah for the sole purpose of reintroduction, we strive to return the Southern African Cheetah population back to a self-sustaining number of individuals. By using our hunting training regime and post-release monitoring efforts, we ensure the ultimate survival rate for these cats. Research and education play a huge role in future reintroduction objectives, and these points are focused on the project. With a combined effort from different breeders and conservation organisations, we can bring the cheetah back from the brink of extinction.”

But what these hunters heard about was utterly heartbreaking.

The sanctuary was doing everything they possibly could to make sure that the cats were all fed but were certainly feeling the strain of the lockdown. These Cheetah’s had also been impacted by all the regulations. You see, the sanctuary relies on tourism to survive, and this is their primary source of income. They also rely on local hunting game farms who kindly donate off-cuts from hunting trips, but this has all come to an abrupt halt for almost 150 days now.

The hunters (who wish to stay anonymous) had specifically gone hunting to stock-up food for themselves and their businesses but decided to donate 5 of their animals to the sanctuary to help the Cheetahs survive.

“We are so blessed; we received five carcasses donated to us this morning! We have enough meat for our animals for the next seven weeks, our cold and freezer rooms are packed with fresh meat! Thank you so much to the owners of the Johannesburg company (they prefer to stay anonymous), our cats will be well fed for the next few weeks! We always appreciate any fresh donated game meat; it’s nutritional and essential.”

This was a massive “lightbulb moment” for me. We are all part of a massive ecosystem that has evolved over many years, and the global pandemic and subsequent lockdown has impacted everything! From our normality to our social interaction; it’s impacted many people’s lives and their health, as well as businesses and economies… and it has even affected our wild animals.

We haven’t beat COVID-19 yet… not even close, and most of us are too scared to think about the aftermath which will last for several years – I’m calling that the COVID-Hangover. But the thing that scares me most is that the COVID-19 lockdown – whether you believe the harsh decisions and regulations to be right or wrong – will reverberate for many years to come.

I don’t think we’ve even seen the tip of this iceberg yet.

On Tuesday alcohol sales and inter-provisional borders open around South Africa… I implore you – if you can afford it – to please support all our animal sanctuaries, support wine farms and small businesses. Let’s try to play our part in rebuilding this broken economy.


Source: Good Things Guy interview 
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About the Author

Brent Lindeque is the founder and editor in charge at Good Things Guy.

Recognised as one of the Mail and Guardian’s Top 200 Young South African’s as well as a Primedia LeadSA Hero, Brent is a change maker, thought leader, radio host, foodie, vlogger, writer and all round good guy.

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