Category Archives: Releases

Lente Roode on the release of Gertjie and Matimba


It’s been a month now since Gertjie and Matimba have been back in the wild and from the reports we are receiving the two have adapted very well to their new environment. They still barely leave each other’s side and have been exploring their new environment non-stop, Gertjie in front with Matimba following on his heels. How I miss these two big beautiful animals at HESC. For five years they…
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It has been nearly six months since Hoedspruit Endangered Species Centre (HESC) released Tillie, a captive-bred cheetah, onto the Pidwa Wilderness Reserve on 29 January 2019. Katie Rooke and the excellent team of the Askari Wilderness Conservation Programme have been overseeing her integration into the wild. The first six weeks Tillie was restricted to a predator-free boma to help her become habituated to her new surroundings. During this time she…
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Gertjie and Matimba’s Five Year Journey from Victims to Victors

Gertjie and Matimba’s extraordinary journeys both started with absolute heartache and sadness, but five-years later continue with hope, pride, love and best of all, freedom. Their stories caught the world’s attention and then stole their hearts too. In 2014, South Africa’s Southern White Rhino population lost 1 215 precious rhinos to the heartless crime of rhino poaching. Rhino poaching statistics had grown steadily since the early 2000s, but 2014 was…
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HESC rehabilitates and releases a Southern Ground Hornbill

The team at HESC are delighted to announce a brief and successful rehabilitation and release of a Southern Ground Hornbill back into the wild. Emaciated and very weak when he came to us last month after being found on a wildlife reserve not far from Jabulani, it took barely two and a half weeks to restore his health. With its large form, huge black beak and striking colour on the throat…
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PRESS RELEASE: British Princess attended release of a cheetah in a wilderness reserve

HESC released a seven year old captive-bred female cheetah in the Pidwa Wilderness Reserve during January 2019. The release formed part of the Southern African cheetah meta-population programme facilitated by the Endangered Wildlife Trust (EWT), and entails selectively releasing captive-bred cheetahs to enhance the genetic diversity of the limited number of free-ranging members of the species in Southern Africa. The release is conducted in three stages. The first stage entailed a…
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