An international cheetah translocation
By Angus Sholto-Douglas

At Kwandwe Private Game Reserve, one of our missions is to expand wildlife populations both on the reserve itself, but also beyond our borders, in order to expand and grow healthy demographics. Kwandwe’s inception saw the return of cheetah to the Great Fish River Valley for the first time since 1888, and since then, we have been proud to assist with the re-establishment of cheetah populations to game reserves in South Africa from our founding stock.

Recently, we went one further and sent two cheetah across international borders for the first time! The two male cheetah went to Liwonde National Park in Malawi, a park that has been a host for some incredible wildlife translocations and reintroductions in recent years. In 2017, they began to re-establish the predator population, and cheetah were among the first to be reintroduced, bringing the species back to the park after a 100 year absence.

For our operation, Vincent van der Merwe, Cheetah Metapopulation Co-ordinator for the Endangered Wildlife Trust, arranged all the logistics and travel for the animals to Malawi and we are pleased to report that everything ran smoothly and as planned.

Whilst translocations are common within South Africa – we have managed our cheetahs’ genetics this way for the past two decades – what makes this translocation special is that we are now able to start moving cheetah outside our borders and begin to make a contribution to this species’ survival in other countries on the continent. There is an African proverb that says, “If you want to go far, go together” and collaboration is, and will always remain, an important part of Kwandwe’s conservation efforts.