Since 2001 the Western Cape Cheetah Conservation (WCCC) has been rescuing and rehabilitating cheetahs at a special facility at Inverdoorn Game Reserve and Iziba Safari Lodge.
The WCCC is at the forefront of cheetah conservation in South Africa and is a globally recognised initiative. Through dedication, passion and the expertise of leading specialists in veterinary science, conservation dynamics and predator behaviour studies, the WCCC has rescued 14 cheetahs and released two into the wild. The WCCC is a sanctuary for cheetahs as well as a centre for knowledge and research in cheetah conservation, aiming to educate the public and promote awareness for the cheetah.
Cheetah conservation is a highly specialised field, because these big cats present peculiar challenges. While human conflict and loss of habitat are some of the chief causes of decline in wild cheetah populations throughout Africa, genetic defects are an added concern. Years of interbreeding have weakened the species, leaving them susceptible to genetic diseases, often related to the skin and bones.
As a result, trained and knowledgeable caregivers ensure that the cheetahs receive the best care possible. The cheetahs benefit from a unique wildlife management programme that ensures they receive adequate amounts of physical training and psychological stimulation every day by means of nursing, feeding, long walks, running exercises and interactions with visitors.
As part of our ongoing commitment to raising awareness we invite those with experience in animal handling or those completing studies in wildlife conservation or veterinary sciences, to apply for the volunteer program at the WCCC.
To enter into the WCCC's volunteer program, you must be available for a period ranging from three to six months and have a solid grasp of the English language. As there are a limited number of places available, preference will be given to volunteers between the ages of 20 and 30 who possess experience in animal care.
Should you be accepted into the programme, there will be a two-week probationary period, upon your arrival; thereafter you will undergo an evaluation by management. During this time you will be immersed in building a relationship with a cheetah in order to gain its trust. You are carefully monitored throughout to ensure your safety and that of the animal. You will be placed with an experienced handler who will offer guidance as you accompany the cheetahs during feeds, walks, exercise routines and guest interactions. Volunteer work includes cleaning the cheetah camps, cleaning the cheetah kitchen and meat work, amongst other tasks.