By now we’re sure our fans know there’s more to Buffelsdrift Game Lodge than just our beautiful private game reserve. The Buffelsdrift Foundation works to nurture, protect, and restore the environment of this ancient area of Africa, as well as reducing our own footprint here and uplifting the local community. A key focus in recent years has been the exciting developments from our Cheetah project- and today we’re thrilled to bring you the best possible news. There’s not one, but two new cubs thriving on the reserve!
The Vulnerable Cheetah
The cheetah is listed as a vulnerable species. This is the step above actual endangered status, and sadly, it’s a small one. With recent declines in cheetah populations throughout Africa, there’s a call to push this gorgeous big cat onto the actual endangered red list, too. Part of the problem stems from man’s encroachment into wild territories. The cheetah has very large territorial needs, and even big swathes of land can only successfully support a few individuals in a natural, healthy way. With humans creating boundaries, dividing land, and bringing enticing livestock herds into the cheetah’s hunting grounds, it is inevitable these space-loving apex predators would come into conflict with us.
Partnership with EWT
This need for large territories with small populations also prevents a severe problem for conservation efforts. Where there’s limited populations, issues from small gene pools arrive. Smaller reserves were previously not able to contribute much to the fight to save our spotted friends.
The Buffelsdrift Foundation is proud to have partnered with the Endangered Wildlife Trust to solve this issue and help private reserves like ours meaningfully contribute to cheetah conservation. This enables us to create healthy, satisfying free-roam spaces for a small cheetah population, just as nature intended.
We started with just our original two adults. When their cubs are ready for territories of their own, they are relocated to other participating reserves where they, too, can live safe and healthy lives of their own and find suitable mates, without the risk of inbreeding and further damage to their limited genetic stock.
All cheetahs monitored under the program have VHF collar devices, which let us track them. Not only does this further research into the species, but it helps keep them safer and gives us warning of conflict points, too.
Our Proudest Achievement
With two rambunctious and healthy babies to celebrate, it’s the ultimate pinnacle of the project’s purpose- but our work doesn’t stop here!
Of course, the little ones will need to grow and mature with their parents, learning to hunt and live free. When they are mature young adults who will need their own breeding partners, however, they will say goodbye to Buffelsdrift, and instead find a new home in a different conservation area to thrive as adults. This will be strictly within the project confines, ensuring all the safety checks remain in place for them as with their proud parents. This way, the cheetah conservation project will succeed over and over again.
Where to From Here?
Of course, this is an incredibly exciting time for us, but we know how far from done the journey really is. The Buffelsdrift Foundation is looking forward to seeing the grand-cubs and great grand-cubs of our new babies thrive in their African homeland, but there’s a long way to go before that dream happens.
As always in conservation, funding is a critical part of preserving our future today. Yet, with other human challenges to consider, many African governments simply don’t invest in wildlife conservation to the extent which is needed if we’re to make a positive impact on the future of African wildlife. That’s where people like you are so critical to our efforts. Even the smallest donation can help shape a better future for the cheetah and us all.
If you’d like to help the Cheetah Project, and our many other critical conservation projects, and continue to help these animals stay off the endangered list, you can! The Buffelsdrift Foundation will be running a fundraising effort to help these little ones thrive and broaden our conservation efforts, and any support you can offer will be welcome. Visitors to Buffelsdrift Game Lodge will get the chance to go tracking and hopefully see the babies’ antics until it’s time for them to move on, of course!
If you’d like to give back to the earth and support these exquisite predators for generations to come, then let the Buffelsdrift Foundation know. We’re always excited to hear from our supporters.