The Le Sueur Cheetah Project
IMG 7702 (Read More)
Meet Savannah, Shadow and Mikka, the first three cheetahs in Le Sueur Cheetah Project that's been founded to help take cheetahs off the endangered species list.
There are currently less than 10 000 cheetahs worldwide and that number is dropping by roughly 2 000 every 4 years. This is a horrifying statistic and one that Le Sueur Cheetah Project in Nambiti Private Game Reserve, together with several other cheetah breeding projects around the country, is hoping to reverse.
What's killing cheetahs worldwide? Three things - natural predators, mankind and (their biggest threat) gene diversity. After hundreds of thousands of years, cheetahs have been shot, killed, persecuted, trapped, used, raised as pets. As a result, their gene pool has got smaller and smaller. Cheetahs in the wild are inbreeding, causing 35% of the males to be born sterile, and many cubs to be born with heart, lung, kidney, and/or liver defects that end their lives within a week or so of their birth.
It is the quest of Le Sueur Cheetah Project to strengthen the cheetah gene pool and get new genes back into the various African reserves. The long-term goal here is to get these cheetahs to breed and then release their cubs back into the wild.
Meet the Cubs.....
Sky, Storm, Vega, River, Rocky and Zulu are all names synonymous with the Cub Project. These fluffy bundles, some more than others are found at Woodlands Lodge. A cub crèche has been set up at the lodge to assist these abandoned cubs through the first couple of months of their lives.
Sky and Storm were part of a family of five cheetah cubs that were born on the Nambiti Private Game Reserve. Hyenas are suspected of killing two of the five cubs, after which the mother moved one cub to a new den site but never returned for Sky and Storm. As these are an endangered species the reserve decided to intervene and brought the cubs to the Le Sueur Cheetah Project to be hand raised. They are now 5 months old (born early December 2011) and after some initial problems are doing exceptionally well.
Vega, a 6 month old leopard cub (born early November 2011) was found abandoned on a farm near Underberg. He arrived here at the tender age of around 10 days old. Unlike Sky and Storm, he grew up with absolutely no problems and is now a very boisterous but lovable leopard.
River and Rocky (born early February 2012) are our cute little serval kittens. Three of them were found on a farm near Winterton and taken to the local vet. We got the call from the vet and have raised them from the age of about 10 days two weeks old. Unfortunately the little female named River, died early of polycystic kidney failure, a genetic disease. Rocky has been named after the projects biggest sponsor to date nl. Rocky Adventure Clothing and Footwear. They are both doing very well. These furry kittens are very affectionate, love all the visits from guests, and the highlight of their day is drinking bottles of their special milk.
Zulu the meerkat is just what you would except of a meerkat. Now about 8 months old, Zulu is always in the front of the queue when it comes to food and attention. Running around in the lodge gardens or in the guests rooms, Zulu is never far away from people. Left to fend for himself at a very tender age of about a week, Zulu would not have pulled through if not for the Cub Project. With a condition known as a Mega Esophagus, little Zulu could not get food into his stomach. But after many weeks of tender care he pulled through and now pretty much runs the roost around the cub project.
The long term goal with all the cubs will be to give them a chance to be wild animals again one day, but till then they will be kept safe and warm at the cub project.
Guests of all ages are welcome to meet the cubs at a nominal fee and have the opportunity to touch and play with all of these adorable babies.
Join the young cubs Sky and Storm on an exciting bush exploration and experience the world through their eyes as they learn and grow into becoming fearless, majestic hunters of the wild.
How can you help? By visiting Le Sueur Cheetah Project, learning more about cheetahs and personally engaging with them. By telling others. By donating.