WHY THIS COURSE?
During the early 1970s it became clear that the maintenance of biodiversity on earth should be given attention.
Studies were undertaken under the auspices of the IUCN to determine the status of species and this lead finally to the development and acceptance of the ‘Convention for the international trade in endangered species’ (CITES) which was signed by approximately 140 nations in 1973.
Under the convention, the early classification of cheetahs as an endangered species lead to an anomalous circumstance in which the animal was classified under appendix 1 but also regarded as vermin in the pastoral farming areas of this country.
The numbers of free-ranging cheetahs in Africa are limited by the loss of suitable habitat, the reduction of its prey species and its persecution by pastoral farmers. When attention was given to its status it was felt that apart from the limiting factors in the field, it was a species that did not breed effectively in captivity. We know today, that this is not the case and the animal has been bred in captivity in large numbers to the extent that the captive population in South Africa is probably greater than those found in the wild.
There are several large predator breeding centers in this country and the production of these animals ensures that zoos throughout the world can acquire cats for their collections without taking animals from the wild.
This course deals with the captive management and breeding of lion/cheetahs and other smaller predator populations in captivity and covers aspects that are peculiar to the species and which are essential in maintaining the health of captive animals.