Saving a cheetah and her cubs

The Global Humane Conservation Fund of Africa (GH-CFA), an initiative under Global Humane, has successfully contributed to the rewilding of a cheetah named Nkanyiso and the incredible rescue of her four cubs.

Nkanyiso arrived at the Nyosi Wildlife Reserve and was introduced into a rewilding enclosure in April 2023. She was four years old when she arrived as part of the Cheetah Metapopulation Initiative to rewild genetically important individuals. The rewilding project is a collaboration between Nyosi Wildlife Reserve, The Metapopulation Initiative, WeWild Africa, and the Global Humane Conservation Fund of Africa.

All cheetah subspecies are listed as vulnerable by the International Union for Conservation of Nature, except the Northwest African and Asiatic cheetah which are critically endangered.

Following two months of preparations to ensure she was ready to move from a lifetime of captivity to the wild, Nkanyiso took her first steps as a wild cheetah on Nyosi Wildlife Reserve. Nkanyiso became a self-sufficient and independent hunter within three months.

Nearly a year after her arrival, in April 2024, Nkanyiso was found by a reserve guide with a serious leg injury. Due to her previous relationships with people, she knew to seek out the vehicle for help. The team secured a portable X-ray machine and realized that she was lactating and has given birth to a litter of cubs somewhere on the reserve. Given it had been three days since the team moved Nkanyiso, concern grew for the fate of the cubs.

The X-rays confirmed that her front right leg was broken so releasing her to find the cubs would be extremely risky. The team instead sent two of Nyosi’s guides, Braden and Jack, to attempt to find the cubs on the 6,200-acre reserve. This was no easy feat, and our hopes of success were admittedly low.

Incredibly, the Nyosi guides found four cubs and spent two hours working to safely catch them in the rough thicket of the Eastern Cape. The team managed to rescue all four cubs and take them back to their mother in the enclosure.

A few days later, Nkanyiso received surgery at a local veterinary clinic where she was given a metal plate to heal her broken leg, and she is now able to walk on it again. Nkanyiso’s cubs will remain in the enclosure with her while the team continues to look after the welfare of all five cheetahs, with the hopes of rewilding them all when the time is right.

Find more information on our Cheetah Rewilding Project here