MBOMBELA – The Cheetah Conservation Fund (CCF) has called on the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species to reclassify cheetah as an endangered species because of falling numbers.
Executive director of the Cheetah Conservation Fund Laurie Marker said in a statement that if this is not done, then “we may lose the species during our lifetime”.
The statement was issued earlier in January after the release of an international study titled ‘Disappearing spots: The global decline of cheetah and what it means for conservation’.
According to the CCF statement, the findings of the report are a warning cry to the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) to reclassify the species from “vulnerable” to “endangered”.
Spotlighting the drastic cheetah population decline captured by the study, there are an estimated 7 100 wild cheetah scattered across Africa, with more than 50% of this population found in southern Afric
The Cheetah’s conservation status at present in southern Africa is listed as vulnerable and it is essential that the establishment of cheetahs in reserves in South Africa are properly managed according to scientific principles.
According to the EWT’s cheetah project, who maintains a database of cheetah DNA to assist them with research into the gene pool of cheetah Meta population, it is vital to ensure healthy cheetah populations.
But how critical is the situation?
• The cheetah disappeared from 76% of the species’ historic range in Africa.
• South Africa is currently home to the third largest wild cheetah population worldwide, but the species has been eradicated from 91% of their historical range, according to the EWT.
• It is estimated that South Africa has between 600 and a 1000 individuals.
• Habitat loss is the biggest threat to the future of cheetah in South Africa
• Outside of large protected areas such as Kruger National Park and Kgalagadi National Park, cheetahs are heavily prosecuted.
• The erection of impermeable game fences for game breeding facilities are further fragmenting remaining habitat of free ranging cheetahs that occur naturally along the northern border of South Africa.
• To address some of the conflict between landowners and cheetahs, animals have been introduced to smaller reserves such as Rietvlei Nature Reserve in Tshwane. Although these reserves are too small to host viable populations of cheetahs they are managed as part of a meta population initiative run by the EWT to ensure long-term viability of the species in small fenced reserves. The birth of three cheetah cubs recently at Rietvlei Nature Reserve (RNR) has caused great excitement among regular visitors and staff at this 4000 ha reserve in the heart of Tshwane.
Their mother, Kiara, has been hiding them away from public eyes, but mother and cubs all seemed healthy and thriving. Only a few RNR staff members were fortunate to spot mother and her cubs on rare occasions. Their gender is not known at this stage.http://lowvelder.co.za/371005/warning-c ... r-cheetah/