La Palmyre Zoo intensifies its support to cheetah conservation in the wild
The recent study by Mexican and American researchers reported by major media worldwide confirms that the sixth mass extinction is ongoing (for those who still doubt it) and that if species are disappearing at an alarming rate, the animal populations are also suffering an unprecedented and massive decline whose consequences on ecosystems functioning will be catastrophic.
A hundred years ago, there were over 100,000 cheetahs (Acinonyx jubatus) across Africa (except for the Congo Basin) and Asia, from the Arabian Peninsula to eastern India. Today, just over 7,000 individuals remain in only 23% of their original range. The genetic impoverishment of the species due to the extinction of most of its representatives several thousand years ago has made it more vulnerable to infectious diseases and changes in its environment. When one adds to this fragility the impact of current anthropic pressures (habitat loss and fragmentation, conflicts with humans, poaching for the illegal pet trade…), one can easily imagine the difficulty for cheetahs to thrive over the long-term.
The Maasai-Mara in Kenya is no exception: the reserve is home to only a few dozens of specimens. The species is becoming more and more scarce because of the high mortality of its cubs victims of predation by lions and hyenas who also regularly steal the preys hunted by cheetahs.
The professional wildlife photographer Tony Crocetta, who has been based in Kenya for many years, founded a program called “Cheetah For Ever” that aims to preserve the cheetahs of the Maasai-Mara by protecting the females with cubs from attacks by other large carnivores.
Surveillance brigades patrol day and night in all-terrain vehicles in search of the cheetah families and try to deter the predators. This monitoring is implemented from the moment of the birth of the cubs until they reach 6 months old, an age where they can more easily flee from danger. Cheetah For Ever is currently tracking 6 females: Malaïka, Nora, Imani, Amani, Musiera and Karembo.
The permanent presence of the patrols also makes it possible to limit illegal incursions of the poachers inside the reserve and the disturbances caused by domestic herds or even by some groups of tourists.
The program participates in the education of the Maasai children by organizing educational outings in the reserve and equipping schools with libraries and multimedia materials.
La Palmyre Zoo, which has been involved in cheetah conservation for many years, has decided to provide financial support to this unusual but essential initiative for preserving this endangered species in the Maasai-Mara.
You can follow Malaïka, Nora, Imani, Amani, Musiera, Karembo and Cheetah For Ever news on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/cheetahforever/
and on their website: https://www.cheetahforever.org/english-1/