The Cheetah Breeding and Reintroduction Centre is based near Parys in South Africa, 100km south of Johannesburg. The centre is rolling out a three phase program to restore cheetahs back into the wild. This is the first cheetah project of its kind in the world and provides a unique experience for conservation volunteers in Africa.
The aim of the volunteer program is to create a deeper understanding of conservation and provides interaction with the cheetahs on a daily basis. The reintroduction project is made up of three phases. The first is the breeding and hand-raising of cheetahs so that they can be taught to hunt.
Mothers in captivity do not know how to hunt themselves as the project does not take cheetahs out of the wild The second phase is to move suitable cheetahs that are not related into a large, secure, fenced area with appropriate prey species. Here the cheetahs can hunt for themselves.
There will be no human interaction at this point, and so the cubs born will be taught to hunt by their mothers whilst retaining their natural and healthy fear of humans. Once the cubs are old enough, the mother will chase them away as they will be ready to fend for themselves.
At this point cheetahs will be moved to new reserves, either to start a new population, or bring a new bloodline into an existing population. As you volunteer with animals abroad you will get large amounts of hands-on experience with cheetahs, as you will be spending time with them every day.
‘Cheetah time’ in the afternoons is an exclusive time for conservation volunteers to just spend time interacting with these amazing cats. Volunteers are also responsible for cleaning and maintaining the cheetah enclosures, exercising and feeding them, and monitoring any cubs from the age of three months.
A new and improved small cat enclosure is being built for the servals and caracals at the project. You will be working side by side with the staff and will find their knowledge and expertise invaluable during your stay! If you’re passionate about the conservation of Africa’s big cats, this is a perfect volunteer project for you.