For the first time in about 100 years, wild cheetahs have been reintroduced to the Free State in South Africa as part of the Endangered Wildlife Trust's (EWT) Carnivore Conservation Programme. Two male cheetahs, born in July 2010, got released into the privately owned Laohu Valley Reserve. Both cats are coming from the 5,700-hectare Amakhala Game Reserve in South Africa's Eastern Cape and have been roaming free from birth, hunting and fending for themselves. A female cheetah will get introduced to the Laohu Valley Reserve in near future, so that the province will hopefully see the first wild cubs born in over a century pretty soon.
The Laohu Valley Reserve, located near Philippolis, is the largest protected area in the Free State. The 350km² reserve is known for its ambitious tiger rewilding and reintroduction project in a last-ditch effort to save the South China Tiger from extinction.
According to the Endangered Wildlife Trust, cheetahs have been reintroduced into approximately 48 reserves across southern Africa for tourism and ecological reasons, and 272 cheetahs, sourced from South Africa and Namibia, currently occur in fenced reserves.