Modgaji Conservation Projects focuses on the successful breeding, rehabilitation and release of endangered species in Southern Africa. We specialize in working with cheetah and have been perfecting release methods that go back 27 years.
To successfully conserve endangered species through methods of breeding, rehabilitation, and release.
To perfect the release method that can be passed down to generations in order to preserve future wildlife.
HISTORYThe story starts in 1992...
Will and Sharon van Duyn (both being ardent conservationists) moved to the Lowveld. The two planned to enter into the tourism business and found themselves located on Thornybush Game Reserve where they built and developed Chapungu Game Lodge. In the process of running and building the lodge, Will was given an abandoned cheetah cub to take care of.
Over the Years Will started to walk with this cheetah know as Skekank on Thornybush. Through this, she began to hunt and learned how to fend for herself in the wild. Not long after she totally rehabilitated into Thornybush and died of old age despite her being surrounded by lion and leopard. After this Will released another hand-reared cheetah onto Thornybush in the same manner.
In 2000 the van Duyn family moved to the Eastern Cape where they started Hlosi lodge and helped develop Amakala Game Reserve into a Big 5 reserve. In the beginning, they received problem cheetahs. What was noticed with these cheetahs was that they lived on the fence line and were always hurting themselves by trying to escape or being shot once escaped. One of the cheetahs Will received was a wild nine-month-old female from De Wildt. At first, she was kept in an enclosure but slowly she began to trust Will. He began to walk with her onto Amakhala where she was able to hunt and get used to her surroundings. Once released she used the whole game reserve rather than living on the fence line and it was discovered that she was incredibly relaxed and at ease compared to the other cheetahs that were just released. By her being properly boma trained and so relaxed it prevented her escaping from the reserve as well as darting her for any minor problems. Instead, they could examine her from a short distance without her running away or becoming stressed. This way it prevented the risk of unnecessary darting which is always a risk to these animals. This cheetah went on to produce many cubs which were then relocated at the right age to other reserves.
In 2007 Will moved again to a 5000-hectare farm in the Karoo outside of the town Steytlerville with the intention to expand and develop another big five reserve. With him, he brought 3 orphaned cheetahs from Amakhala (1 female and 2 brothers, the mother having died of meningitis). The cheetahs here were also able to walk and hunt for their own food but due to the surrounding fence not being electrified they were in enclosures and walked every second or third day. When our female cheetah, Buhle, gave birth to cubs they were left with the mother and she was able to rear them on her own. What was discovered here was the cubs did not imprint of humans whatsoever, whereas a cheetah brought up by hand would be semi-domesticated. These cubs were able to fend and hunt for themselves being completely raised by the mother. In the wild, they still remained relaxed around humans/vehicles and did not live on the fence line or try to escape through fences as they were used to the electric fences in their camps, therefore being properly boma trained.
At the beginning of 2016 Will sold the reserve in the Karoo and relocated to the Greater Kruger where the project focuses on conservation experiences.