The Western Cape Cheetah Rehabilitation centre
Capecheetah is a rescue and rehabilitation centre for cheetahs based at Inverdoorn Game Reserve in the Western Cape. It was founded by reserve owner Damian Vergnaud after the purchase of 7 semi wild cheetahs. In 2008 he saved Velvet, Shady and Joti, 1 month old cheetah cubs who were abandoned in a bathroom. Today, each of them has their proper thrilling, but sometimes heartbreaking, story. The aim of the centre was to rescue more of these species from similar situations with the goal of rehabilitating them and, ideally, releasing them into the wild.
The work of the centre was expanded with the implementation of a breeding programme, aimed at countering the decline in the African cheetah population and increasing the genetic diversity in species. To date, Capecheetah has succeeded in both releasing cheetahs back into the wild and seeing two litters of cubs born on the reserve.
Cheetah runs form part of the rehabilitation and breeding programmes at the centre. The runs create an opportunity to raise awareness about the cheetah and the WCCC efforts, as well as the interactions with tame cheetahs at the safari lodge. A couple of cheetahs stand as ambassadors for the programme and interact with guests. These are led by handlers who share the stories of the rescued cheetahs and inform guests of the centre’s work.
Capecheetah also runs a volunteer programme, inviting those passionate about animals and conservation to dedicate a few months to helping out on the reserve and with the cheetahs. Together with a digital strategy to engage the public through social media and events, Capecheetah hope to do their part to save these species, one run at a time.