Cheetahs introduced to Majete Wildlife Reserve, Malawi after decades-long absence

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Lisbeth
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Cheetahs introduced to Majete Wildlife Reserve, Malawi after decades-long absence

Post by Lisbeth » Fri Jul 26, 2019 7:18 pm

26 July 2019

Two years after cheetahs were reintroduced to Malawi, in Liwonde National Park, four individuals were safely translocated from South Africa to Majete Wildlife Reserve to form a crucial founder population and help grow the range of this vulnerable big cat.


A small founder population of wild Cheetahs has been successfully translocated from South Africa to Majete Wildlife Reserve, in Malawi, where cheetahs have not been present for decades. Cheetahs were entirely absent from Malawi for twenty years before a successful reintroduction returned them to Liwonde National Park in 2017. The translocation of four Cheetahs on Thursday, 25 July, resulted from a collaboration between African Parks, which manages Majete and Liwonde in partnership with Malawi’s Department of National Parks and Wildlife (DNPW), and the Endangered Wildlife Trust (EWT). Their introduction into the secure reserve supports conservation efforts to ensure the survival of Cheetah on the continent, and marks another milestone in the restoration of Malawi’s predator population.

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Cheetah in Liwonde National Park. Photo credit Olivia Sievert.

“Our partnership with Malawi’s DNPW and collaboration with the EWT is helping to ensure a future for an iconic predator species in decline. By bringing Cheetahs back to Majete, we have achieved another important step in transforming the once-depleted ecosystem into a thriving reserve while supporting critical predator conservation efforts in the region,” said John Adendorff, Park Manager of Majete Wildlife Reserve. He added, “Effectively managed parks like Majete create safe havens for wildlife and generate opportunities for millions of people to benefit from the development of conservation-led economies and from the long-term dividends of healthy landscapes.”

Donated by Welgevonden, Samara and Dinokeng Game Reserves and Rietvlei Nature Reserve in South Africa, the Cheetahs were flown to Lilongwe and transferred by road to Majete where they arrived safely on the evening of Thursday, 25 July. They were released into enclosures, where they will spend over a month acclimating to their new surroundings before venturing into the wider reserve. The animals are in good health and expected to do well in Majete, where habitat and prey conditions are optimal and measures are in place to ensure their ongoing conservation and protection.

Each individual was carefully selected by the EWT’s Cheetah Metapopulation Project, which creates safe spaces for Cheetahs while managing populations across reserves to ensure genetic diversity. The EWT considered a variety of factors when selecting Majete’s founder population, which are unrelated to the Cheetahs reintroduced to Liwonde in 2017, providing the foundations for a diverse and healthy gene pool in Malawi. "It’s really wonderful to be reintroducing Cheetahs into the 60th metapopulation reserve. We are grateful to African Parks and DNPW for creating 750km2 of safe space for wild Cheetahs. Majete has the ecological capacity to support an important viable Cheetah population," said the EWT Cheetah Metapopulation Coordinator, Vincent van der Merwe.

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The EWT's Vincent van der Merwe overseeing the translocation in South Africa. Photo credit Jo Taylor.

Historic records suggest that Cheetahs were present in the region around Majete several decades ago. However, due to decades of habitat loss, human-wildlife conflict and poaching, Cheetahs vanished from Malawi until the 2017 reintroduction saw their return to Liwonde National Park. African Parks assumed management of Majete Wildlife Reserve, the first park to enter its portfolio, in partnership with Malawi’s DNPW in 2003; and begun reviving the park by implementing sound law enforcement, community development and conservation programmes. Almost 3,000 animals of 15 species were brought back, including both leopard and lion, making Majete Malawi’s only home to ‘Big Five’ wildlife. Since then, the conservation efforts of the Malawi Government and African Parks have overseen a predator restoration plan for the region, with Cheetah and lion also reintroduced to Liwonde National Park in 2017 and 2018 respectively. With Majete secured wildlife in the reserve is flourishing, in turn benefitting local communities through sustainable tourism, livelihood opportunities and socio-economic growth.

Eradicated from 90 percent of their historic range in Africa, Cheetahs are listed as Vulnerable by the IUCN, and as few as 6,700 remain in the wild. While numbers have plummeted due to shrinking habitats and growing anthropogenic pressures, protected areas provide safe spaces that are critical to enabling population growth and range expansion, and to securing a future for the species on the continent.

The EWT is grateful to PwC for their support of the Cheetah Metapopulation Project.
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Re: Cheetahs introduced to Majete Wildlife Reserve, Malawi after decades-long absence

Post by PJL » Fri Jul 26, 2019 8:11 pm

Good to see John getting involved in things there already - he only left Addo a few months back \O
Addo 2019 - irregular updates from Addo: https://africawild-forum.com/viewtopic.php?f=32&t=9385

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Re: Cheetahs introduced to Majete Wildlife Reserve, Malawi after decades-long absence

Post by Flutterby » Sat Jul 27, 2019 8:51 am

^Q^ ^Q^

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Re: Cheetahs introduced to Majete Wildlife Reserve, Malawi after decades-long absence

Post by Mel » Sat Jul 27, 2019 12:30 pm

Wonderful O:V
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Re: Cheetahs introduced to Majete Wildlife Reserve, Malawi after decades-long absence

Post by Lisbeth » Mon Jul 29, 2019 11:26 am


Legendary Samara cheetah Sibella's genes spread beyond SA


A number of South African game reserves along with Samara have taken part in a relocation project coordinated by African Parks, to relocate the animals to other parts of the continent, the cheetahs are relocated to Malawi’s Majete Wildlife Reserve .

The first relocation process took place in 2017, its success has lead to the implementation of more projects and the participation of other reserves such as Welgevonden Game Reserve, Madikwe Game Reserve and Dinokeng Game Reserve.

Vincent van der Merwe, Cheetah Metapopulation Coordinator at EWT’s Carnivore Conservation Programme explained the goal of the programme saying, "The ultimate goal is to create a cheetah metapopulation cluster in south central Africa, with reserves in Malawi and, possibly, Zambia and Mozambique going forward. The programme aims at creating a larger cheetah population across Africa, the well being of the animals being at the forefront of the project."

Sibella's Genes

Sibella is one of the most famous cheetah in conservation history, a North-West province born cheetah that contributes to 14.2% of the current South African cheetah meta-population. Her genes are present in the cheetah inhabiting 17 metapopulation reserves. The great-grandmother to South African cheetahs' remarkable survival story is testimony of the success of the programme not forgetting Sibella's resilience after undergoing an intensive surgery and still coming out on top!

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Samara Game reserve provides a world-class visitor experience with an equal commitment to the conservation of animals beyond the cheetah, the ideal environment for those seeking a holiday with a purpose.

Consisting of 11 former livestock farms assembled since 1997, Samara’s vision is nothing less than the rehabilitation of an entire landscape in the Great Karoo, South Africa’s magical heartland.

According to the Private Game Reserve's ethos is the "concept of co-creation, where every guest plays a role in safeguarding the landscape in perpetuity".

"The landscape itself is unique – an unexpected and diverse semi-arid paradise of mountains and grasslands, where thousands of wild animals, from cheetah to elephant to springbok, roam once more. A total of 26 guests at any one time are invited to join this conservation journey, a guest-to-land ratio almost unparalleled in Africa.

"Easily accessible from the Garden Route, Samara is also just 40 minutes from the historical town of Graaff-Reinet, rich in culture and heritage."

For more information visit www.samara.co.za.
"Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world." Nelson Mandela
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