Cheetahs at HESC
… dearly loved but not tame or pets
At HESC every cheetah has a name and is dearly loved, but is regarded as a wild animal and treated as such. For this reason petting is not permitted. Our cheetahs are not tame and they are bred and raised with the ultimate objective of releasing them into the wild. We avoid human-imprinting, whereby the cheetahs will identify more with humans than with their own species and cause them to become problem animals once released.
From the time of birth, we don’t intervene unless there is a problem and the mother dies, abandons her cubs, or cannot suckle them, in which case the cubs would be hand-fed. Nature must take its course and we are grateful that the cubs born in our care escape the lot of those in the wild where only twenty percent of cubs survive predation and reach adulthood.
Once weaned, our cheetahs are fed meat together with a vitamin and mineral supplement and this is provided without direct contact with the animals. Specially designed feeding areas in all the enclosures allow food to be put out and for the cheetahs to leave the area once they have eaten.
Our cheetahs live in large enclosures in which their natural habitat is mimicked with natural landscaping of the terrain and indigenous vegetation. The enclosures even have termite mounds, one of the favourite vantage points of cheetahs in the wild and on top of which one often sees them sunning themselves. If it weren’t for the fences on the perimeter of the enclosures, you would think you were in the wild as you are driven through the enclosures on a tour of HESC.
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Prior booking of tours is advisable.