The Cheetah Outreach Trust, as leading free roaming cheetah conservation organisation in South Africa, uses the cheetah as a flagship specie to promote co-existence of predators on farmland areas and the main focus remains the conservation of the free roaming cheetah on farmland areas in South Africa.
This does not exclude the conservation and conflict mitigation of other large predators such as leopards and other predators that share these farmland areas in the cheetah range to promote co-existence with farmers. Our field officers are available on a 24-hour basis, 7 days a week to assist and or advise farmers on solutions and mitigation measures to manage predation loss or possible threats to livelihoods caused by predators on farmland areas. By doing this and assisting farmers with advice and assistance, farmers continue to cooperate and seek advice whether it is due to leopard, brown hyena, African Wild Dog, cheetah or other predators that are a cause of concern to them.
Our integrated approach to address and advise on predation management and farmer/predator co-existence continues to build tolerance towards predators and trust towards the Cheetah Outreach Trust in these farming areas.
The Cheetah Outreach Trust does not promote the capture and removal of predators on farmland areas as this has been proven not to be a long-term solution to predation management and it disrupts the natural balance that exists in predator populations. Unfortunately, some cases do arise where farmers have taken drastic steps as a last resort and have subsequently captured predators in cages in an effort to alleviate predation pressure on livestock or farmed game species on game farms. The Cheetah Outreach Trust will in such cases assist the farmer to either implement long term predation management options and the re-release of the captured predator on the farm to ensure the natural predator population balance.
In cases where the farmer is not open for immediate release of the predator the option of relocation to a suitable release area within the predator’s estimated home range will be considered. This alleviates the danger and threat of predation to the farmer on the short term, allows for ongoing advice and solutions by the Cheetah Outreach Trust and saves the captured predator from any further retaliatory actions which could include illegal poisoning, shooting or illegal trade to captive facilities or the illegal hunting market. This approach establishes relationships and trust between the farming community and the Cheetah Outreach Trust and provides the Cheetah Outreach Trust the opportunity to implement long term solutions in cooperation with the farmer for the benefit of the farmer and other predators that co-exist in the area.