In February Pollyanna opened her gallery for a special weekend in support of cheetah conservation.
Vanessa Bezuidenhout (left) director of the De Wildt Cheetah and Conservation Trust flew over from South Africa for the event and was present in the gallery throughout to chat to visitors about her work with these beautiful cats. Pollyanna and Vanessa were jointly interviewed live from the conservation weekend on BBC Radio Derby.
Earlier that week, Vanessa was a special guest at Pollyanna’s talk at the Winding Wheel in Chesterfield, and gave a fascinating short presentation about her work with cheetahs prior to Pollyanna’s talk about her expedition into Bhutan.
A selection of recent paintings inspired by Pollyanna’s visit to the centre were exhibited for the first time, and three new limited edition prints were unveiled, alongside the Pollyanna Pickering Foundation’s new cheetah adoption programme. We are delighted to say that twenty cheetahs were adopted on the first weekend, which alongside donations and a percentage from sales of paintings raised £2025.00 for the cheetah relocation programme. The weekend also helped to secure additional sponsorship for a Vectronix telemetry collar valued at £2150.00. The trust also received offers of work from volunteers – so a huge thank you to everyone who supported the event.
Jeff Shaw, a representative of the Wildlife Art Society International attended the event to photograph the exhibition for the Society’s newsletter, and has volunteered to hold a second cheetah conservation eventin The Heron Gallery in Weston Super Mare, headquarters of the society. Further details will be announced when available.
The Pollyanna Pickering Foundation unveiled an exclusive adoption package at the event - anyone adopting one of De Wildt’s relocated cheetahs through the Foundation was entered into a prize draw to win a week at the centre in South Africa. The lucky winner was drawn when 300 adoptions were purchased.
The De Wildt Cheetah and Wildlife Trust wild cheetah relocation programme:
The majority of cheetah in South Africa occur as free roaming animals on communal and commercial farmland, This means that they do not enjoy the protection given to other cheetah which live in National Parks and Nature Reserves in South Africa and they are often killed by farmers who blame them for stock losses. Confusion exists in the farming community on predator damage identification. Research by the De Wildt Wild Cheetah Management Project has indicated that in 85% of cases, farmers wrongly believe cheetahs are responsible for the killing of stock and game animals.
These losses are mainly due to predation by leopard, caracal, hyenas and also natural deaths. The De Wildt Wild Cheetah Management Program assists farmers in developing predator management plans, which are beneficial to both the cheetah and the farmer and which incorporate non-lethal predator control methods. In cases where it is found that the farmers are not tolerant to the presence of cheetah at all, De Wildt capture the cheetah and relocate them onto suitable reserves and sanctuaries. So far over 140 free-ranging cheetahs have been rescued off farmlands and relocated to protected areas.