Photograph by Constant Hoogstad

Picture of two cheetahs
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Where: South Africa

Grantee: Kelly Marnewick

"Cheetah Lady" Kelly Marnewick is the manager of the Endangered Wildlife Trust's conservation program.

The Endangered Wildlife Trust (EWT) launched the National Cheetah Metapopulation project in June 2011 in an attempt to implement a more coordinated national relocation strategy for cheetahs on 48 small fenced reserves in South Africa.

The challenge is to ensure that the population of cheetahs in these fenced reserves becomes self-sustaining and thus contributes to cheetah conservation.

The system is not working, and the local cheetah population is declining at a rate of 5.7 percent per year. Now, in collaboration with reserve managers, the EWT is implementing hands-on management approaches to combat conservation challenges and to create and implement a coordinated relocation strategy. Initiatives included the following:

  • the development of standardized relocation and veterinary protocols,

  • maximizing cheetah survival and improved breeding through improved reintroduction methodologies,

  • annual meetings in five management clusters across South Africa,

  • cooperation with reserve managers to maintain an up-to-date and accurate cheetah database,

  • the development of a genetic database with the University of Pretoria, and

  • coordinating with provincial permitting officials to completely halt the movement of wild cheetahs into captivity.

As a result of the project's efforts, the population achieved a positive growth rate in 2013.


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