In more than 20 countries across the world, cheetahs have already become extinct. As such, the race for survival has begun. Now more than ever, cheetah conservation volunteers are needed across the globe. In 1900, the total worldwide cheetah population was said to be 100,000. In the meantime, that number has experienced a significant decrease. Today, there are less than 10,000 cheetahs left. In turn, it is easy to understand why your help as a cheetah conservation volunteer is desperately needed. If you would like to learn more about this kind of voluntary work and how to become a cheetah conservation volunteer abroad, we thus ask you to read on.
Why are cheetahs in danger of becoming extinct?
If you are thinking about volunteering at a cheetah conservation program, you might like to know what risks cheetahs face. Like most other wild animals that are fighting extinction and are dependent on far-reaching and sustained wildlife conservation efforts for their survival, cheetahs are in danger. They face extinction for a number of reasons, which are all part of the following categories:
- Conflict between a growing human population and wildlife
- Illegal hunting and trade of wildlife
- Habitat degradation/ fragmentation/ loss due to global warming, climate change, wars, pollution, etc.
In particular, cheetahs are still popular as pets in many regions of the world. However, only one out of every six cheetah cubs that was captured illegally is going to survive. This is a vicious cycle, which means that more and more cheetah cubs are at risk of being captured and even dying in the process. The demand is simply huge and hard to meet. In many parts of the world, cheetah cub mortality is as high as 90%. In wildlife reserves or national parks across Africa, most cheetah cubs do not survive since lions, hyenas, and other large predators will likely get to them.
Outside of these areas, cheetahs mostly live near farmlands, as farm animals are easy prey. However, this is a threat to the livelihood of farmers, wherefore cheetahs are in danger of being killed by farmers. Overall, this is one of the reasons for the significant decline in the worldwide cheetah population. While cheetahs used to live in North America and Europe, too, this is no longer the case. Instead, most cheetahs are found in Africa these days. Your voluntary work might hence take you to these regions:
What will you be doing as a cheetah conservation volunteer?
As a cheetah conservation volunteer abroad, you will likely be required to complete a number of different tasks from hands-on work with cheetahs to office tasks. In order to protect as big of a genetic diversity as possible and raise awareness, educational efforts will be part of your cheetah conservation work. For example, you might be asked to educate the local population about why cheetahs require protection and what they can do to help. From school and community outreach to farmer training, various cheetah conservation programs employ different tactics in this regard. However, when volunteering in cheetah conservation, education is definitely going to play an important role.
The same goes for hands-on work with cheetahs. Most cheetah conservation programs care for injured or orphan cheetahs and nurse them back to health until they can be set free. In turn, you might find yourself caring for cheetahs, feeding them, cleaning their cages or helping with the administration of vet treatments as a cheetah conservation volunteer. No cheetah conservation program can do without fundraising and various clerical tasks. From marketing and data entry to bookkeeping and web development, the more skills you bring to the table, the more useful you will prove to be to your cheetah conservation program. Whether it is office work or monitoring the local cheetah population, you will be asked to complete a huge range of tasks. This makes this work all the more exciting and rewarding. Of course, we are happy to help you find the cheetah conservation program that is the best match for you!