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Welcome to Running Wild Conservation
With less than 7500 cheetahs left worldwide (less than 600 wild cheetahs left in RSA) the urgency to repopulate the dwindling numbers has become apparent. This is the main objective behind the Running Wild Conservation. Breeding cheetah for the sole purpose of reintroduction we strive to return the population of Africa's most endangered large mammal, the cheetah back to a self-sustaining number of individuals. By using our rewilding 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 at the center.
With a combined effort from different breeders and conservation organisations we can bring the cheetah back from the brink of extinction with Ex-Situ Conservation.
Some attempts to reintroduce cheetah in the past have gone horribly wrong due to human error. So many wild cheetahs have been relocated onto big 5 game reserves without equipping the cheetah with any predator avoidance skills. Most of these cheetahs are being killed within a few weeks by lions and hyenas. This is nothing but human error. The strategies were not thoroughly thought through and the animals were by no means ready for their release due to factors like cheetah being too old to release, tame cheetahs that had never hunted prior to their release and then unfortunately human interaction taking place after the actual release.
Incorrect administering of drugs (overdosing) and not following the correct protocol whilst transporting cheetah for relocation caused many losses. Incorrect boundary fencing and a lack of post release monitoring has also led to these attempts not being successful.
The trade in cheetah as pets has hit an all-time high. Most cubs are bred in captivity and sold off to wealthy buyers as a fashionable pet. Unfortunately most of these cats never reach the age of one year due to incorrect diet and care, or abuse.
To rear a cheetah in captivity, train it to hunt, de-humanize the animal, relocate and monitor an individual cat takes around two years, furthermore the animal needs to then be monitored for at least 2 months.
To train a cheetah to not only hunt successfully but to hunt the correct prey species, needs one main factor, and that is a large expanse of land (at least 400 hectare) which most breeding projects do not have access to. Furthermore this land needs to house the typical prey species that in turn need to be replenished ever so often.
Above all these cheetah need to have a clean bill of health prior to release, thus extensive blood work and DNA screening needs to be done to ensure diseases are not carried into wild populations.
The argument of a hand reared cheetah coming into conflict with humans is preventable, as the released cheetah needs to go through a dehumanizing phase and then released onto appropriate reserves where they cannot escape.
The second argument that hand reared cats have no fear of natural predators can also be overcome with our own developed predator avoidance program, or once again that the cats need to be released onto predator-free areas.
In South Africa right now there are enough people with the passion, dedication and knowledge to fulfill that specific need, land to perform the hunting training can be acquired or leased, sponsorship to fund this type of project is out there, and breeders need to join these dedicated people to help build a sustainable wild cheetah population.
Simply put, we need to keep filling the wild pipeline. By breeding cheetahs in captivity and raising them in such a responsible and sustainable manner that they are ready to be released back into the wild by the age of around 24 months will save the wild population.
Too many cheetahs are currently bred for commercial purposes, leaving us with more cheetahs in captivity than in protected reserves.
South Africa specifically needs a mind change if we want to halt the eminent extinction of our wild cheetah population. Conservationists, scientists and governmental bodies need to understand that a conventional approach to the problem on hand cannot and will not change the facts mentioned above. We all need to start working together and think outside the box if we want any chance of turning this problem around that includes other means and ways of supplementing the current wild cheetah population with healthy, genetically superior animals.
In short, with selective breeding protocols, the correct hunting training regime, thorough dehumanizing techniques to avoid human conflict post release, non-intrusive post- release monitoring strategies and very selective relocation areas, cheetah reintroduction is possible and perhaps the only way to ensure the species can survive in South Africa.
The GOAL behind the Running Wild Conservation:
As mentioned above the main goal will be to breed and release cheetah back into the wild to supplement the current dwindling population. We will focus on other breeding projects and create a hub where other breeders can give back by sending a percentage of their breeding stock to the Running Wild Conservation for the end goal of releasing. This program consists of different stages from hunting training and predator avoidance to release and post release monitoring. Under no circumstances will we trade with cheetah, these animals will be released under a custodian basis to ensure the best possible outcome and future management for the released animals.
The current rewilding procedure for our cheetah comprises of different stages according to the specific animals rearing status, age, progress and abilities. All above must be done responsible and only by an experienced team to ensure long term success and sustainability
To ensure the survival of the cheetah for future generations.
To ensure a viable genetic diversity by genetic introduction and studies.
To provide crucial education to the public and farming entities.
To provide platforms for further carnivore studies.
To repopulate the now cheetah deprived areas of South Africa.
To provide a sanctuary for old, or non-releasable, and mistreated cheetah.
To not trade under any circumstances with any of our animals. We will however and only when needed, exchange certain animals for genetic purposes and only with reputable and like minded breeders.
To responsibly breed, raise, rewild and release smaller cats (Serval, African Wild Cat & Black Footed Cat) onto private and national reserves.
Reproduce, rewild and re-introduce! Give back their right to be free. We owe it to them.
"When we return wild animals to nature, we merely return them to what is already theirs.
For man cannot give wild animals freedom, they can only take it away." - Jacques Cousteau
Running Wild Conservation is the first facility in the world breeding with cheetah for the sole purpose of reintroducing onto suitable protected reserves.
The Cheetah is considered one of the world's
most endangered species by the Convention of International
Trade in Endangered Species (CITES).
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