The Team

Damian Vergnaud


Damian Vergnaud is the founder of Capecheetah and the owner of Inverdoorn Game Reserve in the Western Cape. He has a lifelong passion for wildlife this inspired him to move from France to South Africa, where he took over the management and ownership of the reserve from his parents. Furthering their dreams of restoring the area by repopulating it with free-roaming wildlife, he took the goal of conservation even further by establishing a rescue and rehabilitation centre for cheetahs at the reserve. Since then the centre has rescued and released cheetahs and implemented a successful breeding programme.

Damian Vergnaud started the WCCC in 2001 and in 2008, he saved Velvet, Shady and Joti. They came to him when they were 1 month old. He found them in a bathroom which was a so called breeding facility.  The were abandoned cubs and he made it his mission to rescue and rehabilitate other cheetahs from similar situations. He works with a dedicated team of cheetah handlers at the centre based at Inverdoorn Game Reserve in the Western Cape.

Their  mission to save wildlife did not stop with cheetahs. Damian has also successfully released two elephants to roam free at Inverdoorn and have started RhinoProtect. Prompted by the rise of poaching in South Africa and the threat to his own rhinos on the reserve, Damian did not hesitate to take action.

Damian is continually looking for new and innovative ways to protect rhinos and other wildlife. He spends his time meeting with the experts in the field, as well as with members of the media, both locally and abroad. Using his influences and connections he constantly tries to spread the word about saving rhinos, while thinking of new ways to conserve South Africa’s rhino and cheetah population.

Leah Brousse

WCCC Manager

Leah Brousse is the main cheetah handler at Western Cape Cheetah Conservation. She was born in France, grew up in Germany and now calls South Africa her home, where she is making her dream of working with cheetahs come true. For 4 years, Leah and the team takes care of all the cheetahs daily.
Her day involves cleaning the enclosures, feeding, and walking the cheetahs. She works with all the tame and wild cheetahs, some of which have been released into the main part of the reserve.

John Mcllvaine

Cheetah Handler

John Mcllvaine is at Inverdoorn for his second time!
After being here for three months last year as a volunteer, he is now a cheetah handler and a official member of the WCCC team.