Happy International Cheetah Day!
Let’s #SaveTheCheetah As Our Planet’s Fastest Big Cat Races Against Extinction
The feline icon of speed and grace, the cheetah is the fastest – and also the oldest – of all the big cats. Capable of reaching a top speed burst of 120km/h in just 3 seconds, with strides in excess of eight metres, cheetahs have outlived ice ages and sabre-tooth cats, remaining unchanged for three million years.
Sadly, the world has lost 90% of its wild cheetah population in just the last 100 years, making the cheetah Africa’s most endangered big cat. There are now less than 7,100 cheetahs left in the wild, and one-third of these wild cheetahs live in southern Africa.
These last few remaining cheetah face complex and multi-faceted challenges, including human-wildlife conflict; loss of habitat and loss of prey; as well as poaching and illegal wildlife trafficking, driven by a high demand for cheetahs as exotic pets and status symbols.
International Cheetah Day #IntlCheetahDay was designated on 4 December each year by the Cheetah Conservation Fund (CCF) to raise awareness of the risk of extinction cheetahs face.
“International Cheetah Day serves to remind us that the cheetah, like all wildlife, is a treasure of our planet,” says Dr Marker, founder of CCF. “When a species becomes extinct, everyone loses. The good news is that cheetahs can be saved, and young people are the key to their future. The fate of cheetahs rests with us and the next generation.”
CCF suggests these fun ways to celebrate International Cheetah Day and play a role in saving these iconic cats:
* Wish everyone you meet a very “Happy International Cheetah Day!”
* Learn more about cheetahs – https://cheetah.org/learn/about-cheetahs/ – and tell others about our responsibility to save this iconic species.
* Participate in one of the many International Cheetah Day events around the world listed here https://internationalcheetahday.com/#getinvolved or host your own!
* Join the conversation on Twitter by using hashtags #SaveTheCheetah & #IntlCheetahDay.
* Volunteer with conservation organizations around the world and in the field, to help save the cheetah.
“Volunteering is one of the best ways to contribute hands-on to the survival of these iconic and ancient big cats,” says Earl Smith, founder and CEO of Volunteer Southern Africa. “We have witnessed first-hand the impact volunteers make, having hosted more than 9,500 volunteers from 25 countries over the last 10 years. Our Volunteer Southern Africa volunteers have helped to rehabilitate more than 1,100 animals, including more than 60 cheetahs through our Living with Cheetahs volunteer program https://www.volunteersa.com/our-programs/wildlife-rehabilitation-care/living-with-cheetahs-south-africa/. Donating countless manhours and contributing significant tourism spend to wildlife conservation projects across Southern Africa, our volunteers ensure conservationists and wildlife sanctuaries are no longer constrained by few hands and limited budgets. In addition, volunteers also share their experiences with their social networks, raising crucial awareness of the importance of wildlife conservation.”
At the Living with Cheetahs volunteer program in the beautiful Limpopo province of South Africa, you can live with cheetah, African wild dog and other wild animals in the African bush, with a full package that includes airport transfers; accommodation with a pool and braai area; 3 meals a day; laundry; WiFi; and 24-hour emergency support. Volunteers experience cheetah runs, mountain hikes, game drives and reserve tours, and a range of optional excursions while also gaining hands-on experience in running the cheetahs; conserving, caring and interacting with endangered species; breeding rare species; contributing to scientific studies; feeding wild animals and maintaining a wildlife sanctuary. It is a unique opportunity to make a lasting difference, working closely with conservationists to ensure the survival of this rare and endangered species.
On the forefront of facilitating safe and ethical wildlife conservation volunteering, Volunteer Southern Africa takes great pride in professionally recruiting, hosting and looking after volunteers during their stay at a wildlife conservation program that ignites their passion and changes their lives for the better, while making a real contribution to the global effort to conserve our planet’s most iconic wildlife.
“Wildlife conservation volunteering is the experience of a lifetime – as evidenced by the fact that more than 850 of our volunteers return again and again,” says Smith. “While living and working hands-on day-to-day with cheetahs and locals in places tourists would rarely see, our volunteers also have a great opportunity to meet others with similar passions and interests from all over the world, some of whom will become life-long friends and important connections for the future. Volunteering also allows you to broaden your knowledge and abilities, gain experience and a new perspective on life, and learn life skills that will benefit you in future. Perhaps most importantly, witnessing the impact your actions, being part of the solution, working with other like-minded people and realising that you can make a difference: these are life-changing experiences.”
“Together with our wildlife volunteer champions, we at Volunteer Southern Africa are making a significant impact on cheetah conservation – on the ground, where it counts – leaving a lasting and bio-diverse legacy to future generations.”
Click here to meet some of our volunteers and find out what they say about Living with Cheetahs…