Pollyanna has recently accepted the role of UK ambassador to support a remarkable cheetah conservation programme based in South Africa.
Pollyanna had the opportunity to visit the Ann Van Dyk Foundation, a remarkable facility which conducts long term conservation research and education programs relating to the wild cheetah to ensure its long term survival.
The Centre’s work has resulted in the major achievement of helping to conserve what was once a threatened species. During her visit, Pollyanna was able to sketch the latest cheetah cubs bred for release at, and visit the hospital and rehabilitation unit.
She was introduced to the centres founder, Ann Van Dyk, probably the world’s leading cheetah expert – research and observation carried out at the Foundation forms the basis of the majority of our knowledge about these big cats. For the first time, Pollyanna was able to see and sketch King Cheetahs with their unusually marked striped coats.
You and your family can take a special interest in one of Ann Van Dyk’s cheetahs, by adopting one or more of them. By selecting one of these animals and by sending your adoption donation to the Ann Van Dyk Foundation you will be playing an important role in supporting and conserving these animals. Vist the Ann van Dyk Cheetah Centre for further details
The Ann van Dyk Cheetah Centre was established in South Africa in 1971, initially as a cheetah breeding project, which over the past 40 years has bred over 800 cheetah cubs. It has in the past been known as the De Wildt Cheetah Centre, but has recently been changed to The Ann van Dyk Cheetah Centre as a tribute to the woman who has devoted her life to ensuring the survival of the cheetah species.
Their mission is to ensure the long term survival of the Cheetah, African Wild Dog and other wild animals in general.
· To breed rare and endangered species (which includes the cheetah and African wild dog).
· To support scientific research into all aspects of these species.
· To promote public awareness - particularly amongst the younger generation - for the pressing need for wildlife conservation: to afford visitors to the centre of the opportunity of viewing endangered species such as the cheetah and African wild dog, in their natural surroundings and at close quarters.
· To continue to play a role in conservation biology by helping to maintain adequate gene pools of rare and endangered species.
· To generate income to fund existing and future breeding projects at the centre.
· Where feasible, to re-introduce endangered wildlife species into areas where they once occurred naturally.
Today the Centre can look back with satisfaction on a job well done in ensuring the survival of - the cheetah (Acinonyx jubatus), successfully breeding the king cheetah in captivity for the first time ever. While the cheetah breeding project was the base from which Ann launched her conservation ethic, it soon widened to include other endangered animal species, such as the African wild dog, brown hyaena, servals, suni antelope, and riverine rabbits. Many of these projects such as the suni antelope and riverine rabbits once successfully running have been handed over to other institutions to continue with.
The Centre does not receive any government funding and income generated from tours and the adoption programme is used to fund conservation projects.