Despite being considered one of the ‘Big cats’ and a favourite sighting for visitors to Africa, Cheetah are extremely cautious creatures. Built for speed rather than strength makes them vulnerable and easily overpowered by other predators.
This, along with the loss of their natural habitiat has led to a steady decline in their numbers across Africa.
The Zululand Cat Conservation Project became a lifeline for felines in 1994 when three cheetah were brought to Emdoneni to become part of a vital Cheetah breeding programme. The aim, to carefully breed these endangered cats so that their off-spring could roam once more across the African plains.
The Zululand Cat Conservation Project based at Emdoneni just outside of Hluhluwe, has grown to now include other endangered feline species, such as the Caracal, Serval and the African Wildcat – the ancestor of today’s domestic cat.
Through intensive genetic study, careful wildlife breeding management and a sanctuary surrounded by some of the best wildlife reserves in Africa suitable to accommodate the Cheetah and other cats, Emdoneni is able to successfully re-introduce these creatures back into the wild in a sustainable way, ensuring that the animals in their care, and those that are eventually released, are able to live their best lives.
Wonderboy Ndlovu has been working with these cats for five years and understands the importance of ensuring that these wild species are returned to their natural habitat, not just to ensure their on-going survival, but also enriching our own connection to our natural heritage.
Watch DUrbanTV to see how the Emdoneni team work for wildlife.
The aim of the Zululand Cat Conservation Project is to care for Cheetahs, Serval Cats, African Wildcats and Caracal (Lynx), which have been orphaned or injured in the wild and are in need of care and rehabilitation.
Emdoneni has successfully managed a “Cheetah Project” since 1994 and a “Serval project” since 1998 and part or vision is to provide and maintain an environmentally friendly and aesthetic wildlife centre. The primary objective and purpose of the project is to facilitate environmental education and conservation of Cheetahs (currently listed as endangered by the IUCN) and Servals (becoming increasingly threatened through habitat loss and hunting), African Wildcat (in-breeding) and Caracals (killed by farmers).
The centre currently works closely with Ezemvelo-KZN Parks Board Wildlife Services who assist in releasing off-spring back into the wild. Successful releasing of Cheetah, Serval, Caracal and African Wildcat has been done in the Cape Province, Charters Creek, Phinda Game Reserve, Mkuze Falls Game Reserve and in the Bushlands area.
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This video was made possible with the partnership of ANEW Hotel Hluhluwe