Research & Conservation

Resisting population decline

Acinonyx jubatus (A.j.)

Wild cheetah populations are left with fragments of their natural habitat. The five subspecies range from Critically Endangered to Vulnerable in landscapes that are becoming more and more encroached with human settlements.

Ashia plays a vital role in range-wide cheetah expansion and conservation initiatives by funding and coordinating full-scale reintroduction projects, developing essential skills around cheetah translocation, monitoring, as well as ecological and welfare needs of re-established populations in newly protected landscapes throughout Africa. These reintroductions are ongoing as newly established cheetah populations require genetic support through cheetah “swops” or new individuals. 

01 Map
(CR) A.j. hecki

Northwest African Cheetah
The remaining range of this subspecies is poorly studied due to the difficult terrain.

(CR) A.j. venaticus
Asiatic Cheetah This subspecies can only be found at extremely low densities in Iran.
(EN) A.j. soemmeringii

Northeast African Cheetah
A highly trafficked cheetah subspecies, with a remaining range that is greatly fragmented.

(VU) A.j.raineyi

East African Cheetah
The genetic distinction of this subspecies remains contested.

(VU) A.j.jubatus

Southern African Cheetah
This subspecies remains a stronghold for the survival of the cheetah.

© Ashia Cheetah Conservation


In South Africa, wildlife reserves are fenced to guarantee limited human movement, cut down poaching and snaring and thus creating protected areas not only for cheetahs but all of our remaining wildlife. These isolated cheetah populations are artificially managed as a metapopulation as individuals are translocated between these protected areas to ensure a healthy and viable genetic pool. Ashia supports this management at all levels by recognising the conservation value in releasing unrelated mother-reared captive origin cheetah, rehabilitating orphaned and injured wild cheetah, cross country translocations, veterinary welfare, ecological monitoring, or training and exposure to the unique complexities of cheetah behaviour with its extensive network of experienced partners. 


The key to long-term conservation of any species is exploring all promising research avenues. Through multiple ongoing studies, Ashia continuously develops relevant programs for cheetah conservation. 

Reinforcement of protected wild populations

Unlike larger predators, such as lion and leopard, cheetah have presented Ashia an unique wilding opportunity since 2018, largely due to the reduced risk to humans, and captive behaviour phased out through our release program. Various projects have been established exploring phased-release wilding success for metapopulation supplementation from captive origin in cheetah.

Cheetah in protected areas are isolated with little to no natural dispersal between populations. By intervening, we have a responsibility to maintain the demographic and genetic integrity of these populations, not just for the individual but also for its potential contribution to the reinforcement of the species range. To do this, we support communication between reserves, manage data relating to demographic viability, as well as inform long-term decisions around the genetic management of the species.

Re-establishment of cheetah populations

Working with partners, Ashia coordinates reintroductions into the historical cheetah range. In this, we play a key role as an experienced conservation organization, focusing on the welfare of individual cheetah, while managing the smooth operation of translocations and re-establishment through operational and veterinary support, species monitor training, infrastructure development and supply of essential equipment. As this is an evolving field, Ashia has prioritized research towards improving every step of this conservation strategy. 

Related ACC peer reviewed research articles

africa map of research and conservation for cheetah
Iona National Park
This unique isolated landscape is still home to cheetah and could play an important role in their regional conservation.
Bangweulu Wetlands
Cheetah are being reintroduced to this majestic wetland system, where lechwe and other prey abound.
Liwonde National Park
As the first reintroduction site into Southern Africa in 2017, this population continues to grow as a stronghold for cheetah conservation in the region.
Majete Wildlife Reserve
Cheetah introduced to Liwonde were used to found this population in 2019 and it continues to thrive.
Matusadona National Park
This landscape represents a potential 'safe space' for cheetah.
Western Cape Reserves
  • Botlierskop Private Game Reserve
  • Buffelsdrift Game Lodge
  • Garden Route Game Lodge
  • Gondwana Private Game Reserve
  • ROAM Private Game Reserve
  • Sanbona Private Game Reserve
Northern Cape Reserves
  • Glen Lyon
  • RE Private Game Reserve
  • Roggecloof Private Game Reserve
  • Tswalu Kalahari Reserve
Limpopo Reserves
  • Abelana Private Game Reserve
  • Entabeni Private Game Reserve
  • Ka’ingo Private Game Reserve
  • Kapama Private Game Reserve
  • Karongwe Private Game Reserve
  • Lapapala Wilderness
  • Mabula Private Game Reserve
  • Madikwe Conservancy
  • Madikwe National Park
  • Makutsi Private Game Reserve
  • Mapesu Private Game Reserve
  • Marakele National Park
  • Matlabas Private Game Reserve
  • Makalali Private Game Reserve
  • Meletse Private Game Reserve
  • Rietspruit Private Game Reserve
  • SanWild Private Game Reserve
  • Selati Private Game Reserve
  • Shambala Private Game Reserve
  • Thaba Tholo Game Farm
  • Tshukudu Game Reserve
  • Tumbeta Private Game Reserve
  • Welgevonden Private Game Reserve
KwaZulu Natal Reserves
  • Amakhosi Private Game Reserve
  • Babanango Private Game Reserve
  • Hluhluwe-Imfolozi National Park
  • Ithala Private Game Reserve
  • Manyoni Private Game Reserve
  • Mkuzi Falls Private Game Reserve
  • Nambiti Private Game Reserve
  • Phinda Private Game Reserve
  • Thanda Private Game Reserve
  • Thula Thula Private Game Reserve
  • uMkhuze Private Game Reserve
  • Zimanga Private Game Reserve
  • Zulu Nyala Private Game Reserve
Eastern Cape Reserves
  • Amakhala Private Game Reserve
  • Buffalokloof Private Game Reserve
  • Hopewell Private Game Reserve
  • Kariega Private Game Reserve
  • Kwandwe Private Game Reserve
  • Kwantu Private Game Reserve
  • Kuzuko Private Game Reserve
  • Lalibela Private Game Reserve
  • Magic Hills Private Game Reserve
  • Mount Camdeboo Private Game Reserve
  • Mountain Zebra National Park
  • Samara Private Game Reserve
  • Shamwari Private Game Reserve
Free State Reserves
  • Didimalang Private Game Reserve
  • Tiger Canyon Game Reserve
  • Laohu Valley Reserve
Gauteng Reserves
  • Rietvlei Nature Reserve
  • Dinokeng Game Reserve
Mpumalanga Reserves
  • Nkomazi Private Game Reserve
  • Blue Canyon Conservancy
North West Reserves
  • Khamab Private Game Reserve
  • Pilanesberg National Park
  • Sable Ranch
Remaining Free-roaming Cheetah Range

The remaining range for free-roaming cheetah in South Africa runs along the borders of Namibia, Botswana, Zimbabwe and Mozambique. This population continues to survive in a hostile landscape fraught with man-made dangers.
Protected Areas: Cheetah Metapopulation Reserves and Cheetah Safe Spaces

These cheetah are responsibly managed as a metapopulation across more than 70 fenced reserves in South Africa and its healthy growth has allowed for range wide reintroduction initiatives.
© Ashia Cheetah Conservation

Resisting population decline

FRCC logo

Cheetah that persist outside of formally protected areas such as National Parks and Conservancies, are considered ‘free-roaming’. Conserving cheetah effectively in these complex landscapes is an ever-evolving science that Ashia addresses through initiating, coordination and funding of applicable research and policy development projects either on a standalone basis or in partnerships with other stakeholders.

The census is a collaboration developed by Ashia Cheetah Conservation,
Cheetah Outreach Trust and the universities of Stellenbosch (SA) and Groningen (Netherlands). While an estimated 600 to 800 free-roaming cheetah exist along the northern and north-eastern border of South Africa, where the census is currently focused, the reality is that this has not been confirmed, despite the conservation value of the population potentially representing 11% of the global population.

Partnering with Cheetah Outreach Trust, an NGO working on human-predator conflict in this region, and the two universities, we have developed two PhD studies exploring the ecological patterns and processes of these cheetah.

Free Roaming Cheetah Census Study area on map
With the use of camera traps selectively placed at cheetah communication hubs (otherwise known as scent-marking trees) and questionnaires answered by farmers and landowners within the marked study area, we aim for a more accurate estimate of what still remains within South Africa’s borders
© Ashia Cheetah Conservation

North West and North East Cheetah Research

Very little is known about the highly threatened cheetah subspecies native throughout central and west Africa. Working with African Parks, Ashia has deployed a PhD student to the W-Arly-Pendjari Complex in West Africa and Zakouma National Park and Siniaka Minia Wildlife Reserve in Chad, to update our existing knowledge of West African cheetah numbers, status, and ecology. This data is fed directly into African Parks management and policy around protecting highly threatened cheetah subspecies. 

West Africa Map
(CR) A.j. hecki
Northwest African Cheetah
Pendjari National Park
With less than 210 northwest African cheetah remaining, the W-Arly Pendjari, or ‘WAP'- complex, is a highly threatened stronghold for the species in the region.
Zakouma National Park

This small but established population of cheetah is understudied, but after a 3 year project in Pendjari, Zakouma and Siniaka Minia parks, financed and coordinated by Ashia Cheetah Conservation, the surmised subspecies in these regions will be confirmed.

Siniaka Minia Faunal Reserve
While cheetah have been sighted by nomadic pastoralists in the reserve, very little is known about this isolated population.
(EN) A.j. soemmeringii
Northeast African Cheetah
© Ashia Cheetah Conservation