Cheetah project slammed

2015-08-26 11:26
One of the cheetahs in an enclosure at the KwaCheetah breeding facility.

One of the cheetahs in an enclosure at the KwaCheetah breeding facility. (Supplied)

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THE KwaCheetah Project has been slammed by Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife, who suspended all commercial exhibitions pending investigations into three cheetah attacks at the facility.

Ezemvelo said they also found that some activities at the facility were “not in line with their [KwaCheetah’s] management plan”.

But KwaCheetah’s Clarke Smith said they had taken the initiative on their own to suspend activities at the facility pending their own investigations after Cowan House pupil Aiden Fry (10) was attacked by a cheetah earlier this month.

Operating from within the Nambithi Game Reserve in Ladysmith, the KwaCheetah breeding facility has come under fire in the media recently after three separate attacks in and around cheetah petting enclosures.

In a press release yesterday acting CEO of Ezemvelo David Mabunda said they instituted an investigation on August 12 to determine how these attacks happened and if KwaCheetah was conducting its activities according to the management plan they had submitted to Ezemvelo when they applied for a “Keep in Captivity” permit.

According to Mabunda, during the investigation, Ezemvelo discovered that KwaCheetah was already conducting certain activities that are “still being considered” whilst other activities are not in line with their management plan.

“The activities that are not in line with the submitted management plan have resulted in the extensive consultation and lengthy review of the proposed management plan,” Mabunda said.

Ezemvelo said that KwaCheetah has “amenably welcomed” the decision and has ceased all commercial exhibition until Ezemvelo has decided on the status of their management plan.

“Both parties are working together to ensure that KwaCheetah conducts its activities within the applicable legislation failing which the permit will not be granted,” Mabunda said.

Smith responded by saying KwaCheetah had suspended their own commercial functions three weeks ago after Aiden’s attack pending their own investigations.

Smith said he had not seen Ezemvelo’s press release and therefore had no knowledge of activities in their facility that failed to coincide with their management plan.

Manager of the Carnivore Conservation Programme at the Endangered Wildlife Trust (EWT) Kelly Marnewick said all operations at any organisation need to “fall within the realm of the law” and therefore she welcomed any investigation into an organisation that is “in contempt” of the law.

Read more on:    pietermaritzburg  |  cheetahs

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