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Samara Private Game Reserve’s participation in a project to relocate cheetahs to Malawi’s Majete Wildlife Reserve is the latest step in the reserve’s ongoing efforts to conserve and boost cheetah populations.
Samara is one of four South African reserves taking part in the relocation programme, which is co-ordinated by EWT and African Parks, with the latter additionally acting as a safe space creator. Welgevonden Game Reserve, Madikwe Game Reserve and Dinokeng Game Reserve are also participating in the programme.
Vincent van der Merwe, Cheetah Metapopulation Co-ordinator at EWT’s Carnivore Conservation Programme, says this is the second time South African cheetahs have been relocated to Malawi. “The first relocation took place in 2017, and was extremely successful. In fact, the original four-strong founder population has grown to 15 individuals,” he says. Van der Merwe adds that EWT’s ultimate goal is to create a cheetah metapopulation cluster in south central Africa, with reserves in Malawi and, possibly, Zambia and Mozambique. “This metapopulation cluster will, hopefully, contain a number of reserves supporting small cheetah populations, swapping individuals between reserves to ensure genetic and demographic health.”