Cheetahs occupy only 13% of their historical range.
In 2007, WCS and the Zoological Society of London launched the Range Wide Conservation Program for Cheetah and African Wild Dogs (RWCP). Cheetahs and African wild dogs fill similar ecological niches and, relative to other large carnivores, both species require extremely wide ranges. Thus, they both need vast areas of connected habitat.
RWCP, funded by the Howard G. Buffett Foundation, conducts unprecedented species conservation planning at the range-wide, Africa-wide scale. To ensure a coherent approach extends across national boundaries, RWCP has worked with numerous African governments, NGOs, research projects, and local stakeholders in a participatory planning process to establish three regional conservation strategies and 14 national conservation action plans.
The program is also taking a fresh approach to work across large so-called cheetah landscapes—where extensive resident cheetah populations span international boundaries. This approach aims to address the biggest and most intractable threat to the conservation of these two species—changes in land use that have reduced and fragmented their habitat. It will therefore involve land use planning and measures to encourage the co-existence of local communities with cheetahs.