ABOUT US

OVERVIEW

Since its establishment in 1990 as the Hoedspruit Cheetah Project, HESC has played an important role in the conservation of specific endangered species, particularly cheetahs and rhinos. We focus on the survival of endangered species through the breeding and maintenance of diverse bloodlines of cheetahs and the rehabilitation of rhinos that have become victims of poaching. 

We create awareness among local and international learners, students and the general public about the importance of wildlife conservation; operate as an ecotourism destination with overnight accommodation; offer conservation experience programmes and provide research opportunities on the endangered species in our care.

The ethos that underpins our wildlife conservation programmes is to release captive-bred and rehabilitated animals back into the wild to sustain the species. We are proud of the many captive-bred cheetahs, rehabilitated rhinos and many other smaller animals that have been released to roam free in the wild again.

We are equally proud of our association with conservation organisations. Since 2003 HESC has been registered in South Africa as a cheetah breeding centre by the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES).

HESC participates in the Endangered Wildlife Trust’s cheetah metapopulation project that aims to sustain and increase the numbers and genetic diversity of Southern Africa’s free-ranging cheetah population. We provide new blood lines to limit inbreeding in small, free-ranging groups of cheetahs. It is estimated there are only about 7 000 cheetahs remaining in Africa of which 1 200 occur in South Africa, 300 to 450 as free-ranging in the wild and the rest in reserves. But HESC is not only about facts and figures and science. With our passion and dedication for what we do, there are many tales about healing and love for the animals that we work with – unfortunately also cases of heartbreak when we lost beloved rhinos to poachers.

Come by and see for yourself why HESC has become a popular stop on the route of local and international tourists. On our guided tours in open safari vehicles you’ll see endangered and other species such as the cheetah, rhino, lion, African wild cat, southern ground hornbill, wild dog, sable antelope and various species of vultures at the vulture restaurant.

VISION, Mission AND OBJECTIVES

Our vision is to be a unique African wildlife centre that focuses on the conservation, rehabilitation and sustainability of rare animal species and to provide an authentic experience to nurture social transformation that enhances ecosystem sustainability.

MISSION

OBJECTIVES

Since its establishment in 1990, HESC played an important part in conservation and environmental education in South Africa. It is actively involved in and aims to add to the broad conservation of species by:

Photos
taken by visitors

ANIMAL INTERACTION POLICY

HESC maintains a strict policy of no contact or interaction with animals kept on the property. Our policy is aligned with international trends based on animal ethics and welfare and is aimed at ensuring the safety and health of both animals and visitors. Our policy further endorses the right of animals to live a life without fear, which is often the consequence of close contact with humans with whom they are not acquainted. We avoid human-imprinting, whereby the animals will identify more with humans than with their own species and cause them to become problem animals once released.