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Ford helps conservationists protect SA's cheetahs

2020-03-03 15:34
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Cheetah Metapopulation Project. Image: Supplied

Ford South Africa via its Wildlife Foundation has been putting its vehicles behind helping conservationists protect the ailing cheetah population as today March 3 commemorates World Wildlife Day. 

The project that Ford assists with vehicles is the Cheetah Metapopulation one that  monitors and manages 386 Cheetahs across 60 metapopulation reserves here and in Malawi. 

A metapopulation is a group of spatially separated populations of the same species.

According to the project, cheetahs are listed as a vulnerable species and in 2016, the wild cheetah population was estimated at 7100 around the world.

The Kruger National Park supports the largest protected population of wild cheetahs worldwide.

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Image: Ford SA

Project co-ordinator Vincent van der Merve says: "Before Ford Wildlife Foundation came on board as a sponsor, we had to rely on the reserves to transport their own Cheetahs, which was a huge challenge. Now we can do the translocations ourselves."

"Since the handover of our Ranger 35 months ago, I’ve done 107 translocations, and have clocked about 227 000 km. The nature of the job demands that I do a lot of off-roading, and crossing rivers with no bridges, and this is one tough pickup – it performs like an absolute dream," van der Merve said. 

Ford's Wildife Foundation manager Lynda du Plessis said: " It really is such an honour for us to be able to support organisations like EWT and their wildlife conservation efforts, like this incredible Cheetah Metapopulation Project."  


Image: Ford SA

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Image: Ford SA

Compiled by: Sean Parker

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