North West Tourist AttractionsThe De Wildt Cheetah & Wildlife Trust
A captive breeding facility for cheetahs and other endangered animals, the The Ann van Dyk De Wildt Cheetah and Wildlife Centre lies in the foothills of the Magaliesberg, close to Brits and Hartbeespoort Dam.
Where? Brits Road 22, R513 Brits, North West Province
When? Open every day including weekends and public holidays
How? Call +27 (0)12 504-9906
How much? Price on request
The privately owned and funded non-profit organisation was established in 1971 by Ann van Dyk on her 65 hectare farm in an effort to breed what was once a threatened species, the cheetah - the population of which was estimated at a mere 700 at around this time.
Since its inception, some 500 cheetahs have been raised and re-settled in game reserves throughout South Africa and other countries, proof that a cheetah bred in captivity doesn’t lose its hunting instinct and can adapt quickly to its natural environment.
The centre’s efforts have resulted in the birth of close to 600 cheetah cubs, and since then other rare and endangered animal species have been included in their efforts, such as the wild dog, brown hyaena, serval, suni antelope, blue and red duiker, riverine rabbit and vultures.
De Wildt Cheetah and Wildlife Centre has received international recognition for bringing the cheetah back from the edge of extinction and it was largely due to their efforts that the cheetah was removed from the endangered species list in 1986. The centre is also the first to breed the rare king cheetah - originally thought to be a separate species although in reality it is genetically identical to the true cheetah.
It has also bred and released captive-born wild dogs back into the wild. Ann van Dyk received a gold medal award form the South African Nature Foundation for her contribution in 1988.