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Life and hope for cheetah

Cheetah Experience Ashia, a world-class cheetah sanctuary and working farm outside Paarl, has opened its doors.

Ashia, an African name meaning “life and hope”, lies nestled at the foot of the Du Toitskloof mountains, providing the perfect setting for the sanctuary’s conservation and environmental education programmes.

A true passion project, the cheetah conservation programme forms the heart of this beautiful place, offering a facility for hand-raised ambassador cheetahs and a safe sanctuary for retired animals or those that need special care.

Founded to help to prevent the further decline of the cheetah population, Cheetah Experience Ashia’s goal is to support other ethical and sustainable conservation initiatives, particularly programmes aimed at re-introducing cheetahs into the protected wild.

Cheetah Experience Ashia was founded in 2016 by co-founders and directors, husband and wife team Chantal Rischard and Stephan Illenberger, and Riana van Nieuwenhuizen, founder of Cheetah Experience Bloemfontein, a registered non-profit, endangered species sanctuary and ethical breeding centre in the Free State.

Encouraged by the success and public response towards her project in Bloemfontein, Riana realised her dream of procuring a safe haven near Cape Town. This would become a home for retired and hand raised ambassador cheetahs and other wild cats.

Both projects strive to raise awareness of not only cheetahs, but other endangered animals through educational experiences. As the cheetah has become Africa’s most endangered big cat (from 100 000 in 1900 to only probably 6 800 today, of which only 2 000 are in protected areas), ethical breeding in captivity is essential to ensure its long-term survival and viable genetic diversity.

The world’s fastest land animal is sprinting toward extinction, now covering only 23% of their historic range in Africa.

According to the World Wildlife Fund, the loss of wildlife species today is estimated to be up to 10 000 times higher than the natural extinction rate.

Cheetah Experience Ashia offers the opportunity to aid in cheetah conservation through volunteer programmes, working holidays and research/ internship programmes.

Through these educational experiences visitors get to understand the urgent need for action to protect these majestic animals.

It is notable to mention that Cheetah Experience Ashia is a not-for-profit undertaking.

All profits raised from their operations are used to fund and support wildlife conservation projects.

For more information visit www.ashia.co.za

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