Gondwana has been visited by many journalists and media outlets over the past few months including Kevin Richardson AKA the Lion Whisperer with a media crew from BBC UK as well as Top Gear Magazine who came to highlight the great work done by the GCF and APU team.
Kevin Richardson visited Gondwana early in March to follow up on the two female cheetahs that had been released on the reserve. These unrelated cheetahs had both been originally rehabilitated in Kevin’s sanctuary as their mothers had been snared by poachers and killed by lions. Sadly, one of the females on Gondwana was killed by our lion pride too. As harsh as this reality may be this is a normal, natural occurrence in the wild within the natural cycles of evolution between these two cat species and in the wild almost 60% of cheetah are killed by lions. Cheetahs bred in captivity and in isolation from competing carnivores are frequently unable to survive long enough to relearn those skills of predator avoidance. Providing cheetah with the opportunity to settle and hopefully thrive in a landscape dominated by lions is how Gondwana contributes to cheetah conservation. It is imperative to have functional cheetah which can survive alongside mega carnivores and this collaborative undertaking to rehabilitate and then release into the wild is aiming to do just that. Kevin was delighted at 2/3’s (the remaining cheetah) progress and was astonished to see how successful she is at hunting in Fynbos and on undulating terrain!! This is yet again another great first for Gondwana’s data collection around cheetah thriving within a Fynbos biome. More recently, the guides have been seeing the male and female cheetah together which is great news for the future of cheetah on Gondwana. Kevin Richardson will be releasing a video on the story of these cheetah in the future which we will share.
Greg Pots and Jonny Fleetwood from Top Gear Magazine UK, also visited Gondwana at the end of March. They spent 2 days on the reserve driving the new VW Amarok Pan Americano. The purpose of the trip was to write a review on the vehicle and its off-road handling capabilities, while at the same time exploring and featuring Gondwana’s APU Team and its rhino conservation efforts. Throughout the photo shoot Gondwana delivered her magic! The APU were the stars of the show headed by Mr Elton Stone. His team gave the Top Gear crew a great understanding on how the field rangers work and they even partook in a 3hr patrol with the APU. We look forward to Greg’s article hitting the shelves.