Wild About Cheetahs

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Carry this bag to show you’re WILD ABOUT CHEETAHS!

February 2015

As part of their Good Business Journey, Woolworths is proud to support initiatives to conserve Africa’s endangered species. Through partnerships with their customers, MyPlanet and conservation organisations, Woolworths is increasing awareness of threats to South Africa’s biodiversity, while actively supporting conservation projects in South Africa. Through the sale of each bag, Woolworths donates R10 to Wildlife ACT Fund and The Endangered Wildlife Trust to support their cheetah conservation work.

Southern Africa is the cheetah’s regional stronghold with an estimated population of 4,500 adults, constituting half of the world’s cheetah population. In South Africa, cheetahs have lost 90% of their historic range to human development and today only occur naturally in the Kruger National Park, Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park and along South Africa’s northern borders with Zimbabwe and Botswana.

Today, the cheetah population in South Africa is estimated to be less than 1,000, and this population is widely spread. This spread contributes to their increasing vulnerability because of the diversity of factors that threaten their survival:

The human factor

The lack of suitable habitat: (increasing areas of once wild land being developed and direct persecution by humans)

Snaring: snares are set for bushmeat and cheetahs are caught in them accidentally

Trade: cheetahs are often taken from the wild for captive keeping. Captive breeding and keeping of cheetahs is not required as a conservation action.

CHEETAH-RUN


What project will the funds support?

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THE ENDANGERED WILDLIFE TRUST’S CHEETAH METAPOPULATION PROJECT  http://www.cheetahpopulation.org.za

In 2012, through sales of the first ‘Cheetah Bag’, Woolworths customers helped fund the research this project required, undertaken in KZN Province’s Hluhluwe-iMfolozi Park, home to one of the largest and longest standing cheetah populations in South Africa.

The cheetah population in fenced reserves has increased from 274 in 2012 to 324 in 2015. The 51 reserves that are home to this population are located in all nine provinces of South Africa and are managed by the EWT in several clusters: the Kalahari, Lowveld, Waterberg, Eastern Cape and Zululand. Since the EWT began coordinating this project four years ago, cheetahs have been reintroduced into a further eight reserves.

Since the project’s inception 4 years ago this data, along with data gathered from Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife and other research projects the project must now be escalated to build on its successes to date.

cheetah-montage-1Montage showing cheetah collaring and relocation

When and where will the project’s next steps take place?

The rollout of the next phase of the project has already begun. WLA’s work with the cheetah population in KwaZulu-Natal will be extended to support EWT’s further re-introduction and management of cheetah elsewhere in South Africa.

The cheetah population in fenced reserves has increased from 274 in 2012 to 324 in 2015. The 51 reserves that are home to this population are located in all nine provinces of South Africa and are managed by the EWT in several clusters: the Kalahari, Lowveld, Waterberg, Eastern Cape and Zululand. Since the EWT began coordinating this project four years ago, cheetahs have been reintroduced into a further eight reserves.

Through comprehensive monitoring and research into cheetah populations on these reserves, WLA is able to determine accurate population density, survival rates and demographics, assess genetic diversity, habitat usage, prey selection and competition from other carnivores. This data ultimately informs the correct management and conservation practices for survival of the species and also allows the EWT to identify suitable land and cheetahs when re-introducing animals to new reserves.

Camera Traps:

Cheetah can be very cryptic and their movements difficult to capture on camera. WLA identifies trees ‘scent marked’ by individual cheetah and then set up remote camera traps near these trees. Photographs capturing cheetah help identify individuals, record their range and patterns of movement and also help determine population numbers.

GPS collars:

To further understand ranging patterns, survival rates and feeding behavior, specific animals in the population are fitted with collars that enable accurate tracking. This sheds light on what prey they are selecting and to perhaps catch glimpses of social interactions. The collars’ accurate recording of locations via GPS draws an accurate picture of how cheetah use available habitat. Collars also help in calculations to determine population numbers.

camera-trap-montage-1Camera Trap images


What is The Endangered Wildlife Trust?

The Endangered Wildlife Trust is dedicated to conserving threatened species and ecosystems in southern Africa to the benefit of all. The EWT fills the key niche of conservation action, through applied fieldwork, research and direct engagement with stakeholders. With specialist programs and a large team of skilled field staff deployed throughout southern Africa, the EWT works on identifying key factors threatening biodiversity. Through a broad spectrum of partnerships and networks, the EWT responds to the key threats driving species and ecosystem loss, by developing innovative methodologies and best practice guidelines to support reduced impact, harmonious co-existence and sustainable living for all.

The team at the EWT & Stakeholders

• All owners and managers of the 51 reserves who have cheetahs, including private reserves and Provincial and National Parks.

• The conservation authorities of the nine provinces

• Vincent van der Merwe (EWT Cheetah Metapopulation Coordinator)

• Kelly Marnewick (EWT Carnivore Conservation Programme Manager)

• Dr Cindy Harper and Dr Susan Miller, Onderstepoort Veterinary Genetics Laboratory

• Duke University and National Geographic: Big Cats Initiative

 


 What is Wildlife ACT Fund?

Wildlife ACT Fund is a not-for-profit trust that focuses on the following key conservation actions:

• Sourcing and funding the right equipment needed to effectively monitor endangered and threatened species

• Delivering time and expertise to provide adequate management, capture, transport and reintroduction of animals to new areas

• Implementing anti-poaching measures and technology in the field

• Helping rural communities who live alongside protected wildlife areas to develop a love and respect for nature, providing them with reasons to protect it and advance economic
empowerment through conservation.

The team at the WLA & Stakeholders

•  Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife

• Private landowners in KZN.

• Global Supplies and Sirtrack radio tracking suppliers

• Animal Trackem radio tracking suppliers.

• Chris Kelly, Wildlife ACT Fund, Trustee

• Dr. Simon Morgan, Wildlife ACT Fund, Trustee

• Dr. Dave Druce, Ecologist Hluhluwe-iMfolozi Park, Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife

 


How can I get involved in supporting the project?

By purchasing Woolworths ‘Wild about Cheetahs’ bag, you have already recognised the need to support cheetah conservation.

By carrying your bag, you will be playing a vital role in spreading the word to help create awareness round the importance of cheetah conservation in South Africa.

Go to  www.wildlifeactfund.org or www.ewt.org.za for more info


 Links to follow the project or to continue your support

For more information go to

www.wildlifeactfund.org

www.ewt.org.za

http://www.cheetahpopulation.org.za

 www.bags4good.org.za

or e-mail goodbusinessjourney@woolworths.co.za


Media

Wild About Cheetahs bag image. Right click to download

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More info on Cheetah

Class: Mammalia
Order: Carnivora
Family: Felidae
Est. Population: 7000 to 10000
Status: Vulnerable
More info: http://www.iucnredlist.org/details/219/0

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