In Southern Africa, cheetah range has declined by 88% and, with an increasing human population, the remaining range is under threat. Other vulnerable and endangered predators (leopard, brown hyena, and African wild dog) occurring in the cheetah range suffer similar threats to that of the cheetah – population decline due to habitat loss and fragmentation, conflict with game and livestock farmers, accidental snaring, and illegal trapping for live trade.
Cheetah Outreach is an education and community-based programme created in 1997 to raise awareness of the plight of the cheetah and to campaign for its survival.
Since the programme was implemented, Anatolian guard dogs have been placed on farms in cheetah range in Limpopo and Northwest Provinces, where they have reduced livestock losses from between 95 to 100%.
The Auckland Zoo Conservation Fund grant contributes to the annual placement and monitoring of 20 livestock guarding dogs on farms within the cheetah range in South Africa. The guarding dog placements are clustered mainly within the natural cheetah distribution range which establishes an increased connection of safe habitat, facilitating genetic diversity and distribution range expansion.
These livestock guarding dogs are a responsible predation management tool, alleviating the unethical and illegal lethal and inhumane methods that have been used.