HESC works closely with various organisations to develop effective and ethically minded programmes under the broad umbrella term of ‘conservation’. Realising the interdependence of humans and the natural environment, HESC has undertaken educational and community engagement projects that aim to raise awareness of environmental issues and environmentally friendly practices. Through responsible tourism, the centre has also tried to demonstrate to communities that conservation activities can be a prosperous alternative to practices like agricultural farming, poaching and the selling of indigenous firewood.
With the support of members of the prestigious Onderstepoort Faculty of Veterinary Science (at the University of Pretoria) and the Pretoria Zoo, among others, HESC has been able to establish highly successful breeding programmes for various species and has been recognised as a leading breeder of the vulnerable cheetah (including the rare king cheetah). To date, successful breeding of this species has resulted in over 200 captive-bred cheetahs being released back into the wild, all over South Africa (a core objective of HESC). These programmes have consciously been developed to maintain a heterogeneous gene pool in the species. (Read about our breeding programmes and animal releases.)
Apart from breeding programmes, HESC has also provided treatment and rehabilitation to animals in need. This has been made possible due to HESC’s dedicated veterinary clinic. A number of sick and injured animals have arrived at the centre over the years.
The centre has also presented an opportunity for research in a range of fields, such as zoology and veterinary science. Professors and postgraduate students alike have conducted groundbreaking research at the centre. Practical lessons learned are also documented and shared among partners and affiliates, in order to further conservation activities all over the world.
HESC has taken a holistic approach to conservation and the achievement of its vision. By engaging surrounding communities, academics and the general public, HESC hopes to find long-term sustainable solutions to environmental and socio-environmental problems in surrounding areas, and the world. By not only preserving species but also actively breeding them, HESC further hopes to restore the African bushveld to its former glory.