Chipangali Wildlife Trust in Bulawayo, Zimbabwe, was established by Vivian Wilson and his wife Patricia in 1973 to aid in the conservation of a number of native species including cheetahs and leopards. One of Chipangali’s main projects is the capture and translocation of problem cheetahs, leopards, and brown hyenas found killing domestic livestock and the monitoring of their movements after release back to the wild.
Since 2000-2005, Chipangali has rescued 18 cheetahs from farms and ranches in Matabeleland, Western Zimbabwe. To date, all 18 of these cheetahs have been successfully released. All of the translocated animals were recorded by land owners as having killed domestic livestock such as calves, sheep, goats, and domesticated ostriches prior to capture.
Chipangali also assists the National Parks & WildlifeManagement Authority with the capture and translocation of problem animals, including the rescue of cheetah and other species from poacher’s snares. Most of the problem cheetahs are held at Chipangali for a time before being released. A release only takes place once sufficient funding for radio-collars and other required equipment has been obtained and a suitable release location has been found so the animals can be followed after release to insure they get a good start and monitor their progress.
Most of the cheetah released from Chipangali’s care have been: successfully tracked and recorded, sighted on many occasions by park visitors and research staff, successful at killing a variety of prey species, witnessed trying to mate, and successful at avoiding predators like lions and hyenas.
Summary of cheetah releases through Chipangali as of 2005:
In 2005, the Ulysses S. Seal Conservation fund of the Minnesota Zoo awarded this project $2500 to purchase four capture/transport crates to enable the project to increase the number of animals they are able to rescue. Staff champion for this project is Kelly Lessard, Public and Media Relations Specialist.