1 March 2018 by

A cheetah named Cliffe

Not many law firms can boast that they have a cheetah named after them. So it makes us especially proud that the Endangered Wildlife Trust (EWT) recently chose to honour CDH by naming one of the cheetah's in their cheetah metapopulation programme after us.

This is acknowledgment of the ongoing pro bono assistance that Cliffe Dekker Hofmeyr has been providing the EWT over a number of years. In particular CDH's Real Estate Practice, recently assisted EWT with drafting the sale agreement with regard to the purchase of the Medikwe Nature Reserve in Limpopo and the subsequent transfer of the reserve into the EWT's name. This is the EWT's first ever nature reserve purchase. The reserve consists of 1,400 ha of unique mountain habitat in the Soutpansberg Mountains. The transfer is the first step in the EWT realising its dream of establishing the Soutpansberg Protected Area, which will ultimately span in excess of 23,000 h and will connect the existing Happy Nature Reserve and the Luvhondo Private Nature Reserve. For more information on the Medike Nature Reserve see https://endangeredwildlifetrust.wordpress.com/2018/02/06/putting-our-money-where-our-mouth-is-announcing-the-first-ewt-owned-and-managed-nature-reserve/. The CDH Real Estate Practise will continue to assist the EWT to expand on the Soutpansberg Protected Area through land acquisitions and establishing mutually beneficial partnerships with local communities.

One of the EWT's ongoing conservation programmes is its Carnivore Conservation Programme (CCP), a component of which is its cheetah metapopulation programme. The CCP focuses on the conservation of carnivores, many of which species (including cheetahs) are threatened and declining due to numerous environmental threats, with multiple negative environmental ripple effects.

As a thank you for our ongoing support, the EWT's CEO Yolan Friedman invited a group of the many CDHers who have willingly contributed numerous hours of their time to the EWT cause (including Janke Strydom, Cynthia Hurworth and Jonelle Jordaan from our Real Estate Practice) to witness the EWT in action on a cheetah collaring exercise in the Rietvlei Game Reserve.  

The Rietvlei reserve is currently home to nine cheetahs and is unable to sustain this high number of cheetah residents. In preparation for the eventual relocation of one of the female cheetahs together with her cubs, the EWT needed to collar the female (Savanah) and one of her teenage male cubs. The collars will enable the EWT and its dedicated partner veterinarians to track the family going forward. The early morning expedition was a great success and with the expert assistance of the accompanying vet, the EWT team managed to sedate and collar both Savanah and her male cub.

Once sedated we were able to intimately observe the collaring process and come up closer than we ever imagined to these beautiful, wild creatures. To watch them breathe, to touch them and even listen to their heartbeat through a stethoscope. And with so many CDHers in attendance, perhaps it was inevitable that the cub came there and then to be known as "Cliffe".

Thank you to Yolan for affording us this extraordinary privilege and to the EWT as an organisation for all the inspiring and tireless work in promoting conservation in Africa. There is no doubt that we at CDH have a renewed sense of the innate interconnectedness between humans and the many threatened ecosystems within which we live, and the fragility of those ecosystems. With this comes a renewed appreciation of the significance and vital importance of the EWT's work, and the importance of the contribution that we indirectly make to that work through the legal assistance we are proud to provide.

We will be following Cliffe's progress as he is relocated to his new home in Zimanga Reserve, Kwa Zulu Natal.

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