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REMEMBERING OUR FALLEN HEROES

In loving memory of Gary Grant

Tammy Baker, EWT Business Development Officer

Gary Grant was one of the kindest and most generous individuals I have ever met. Gary was a big family man and loved nothing more than to spend time in the bush with his wife Debbie and his son and daughter.

His wife Debbie had this to say about Gary:

“Gary was an incredibly special man, and we miss him desperately. I just want to say a huge thank you to you for organising one of Gary’s best days in the bush – this would be the day we spent with Grant doing the Wild Dog tracking in the Kruger, whilst an incredible experience at the time, is now also a cherished memory for me of Gary at his absolute happiest. The EWT will always remain close to my heart, and I promise I’ll try to ensure that we continue with Gary’s commitments to yourselves.”

Yolan Friedmann, EWT CEO wrote the following tribute:

“Gary’s unfailing love of wildlife and his support of the Endangered Wildlife Trust ensured that we were able to undertake much more work to save the threatened species that rely on us for their future and this was even more valued in a year that was just as tough for them. Gary’s legacy will live on, not just in our hearts, but in the conservation benefits his support brought to Wild Dogs, Cheetahs, vultures, cranes, and a host of other threatened species. We will honour his memory through the life of a dedicated indigenous tree planted at our Campus in Midrand, and we will never forget the role he played in all our lives.”

Celebrating the life of conservation legend Anne van Dyk

The EWT is deeply saddened by the passing of Ann van Dyk. Ann dedicated her life to the conservation of Cheetahs and was intimately involved with the EWT’s work from the early 1970s to generate interest, funding, and action for Cheetah conservation. Anne van Dyk played an important role in kick-starting the Cheetah Range Expansion work currently coordinated by the EWT. The major changes in land use that came with South Africa’s transition to democracy opened up millions of hectares of suitable habitat for wild Cheetahs and they recolonised from Botswana into areas where they been almost eradicated for decades, including the Bray-Vryburg area of the North West, the Lephalale-Thabazimbi area of the Waterberg, and the Hoedspruit-Phalaborwa area of the Lowveld. Wildlife ranchers and livestock farmers did not want these economically destructive animals on their properties. In the process, 157 ‘problem’ Cheetahs were removed from farms and ranches and relocated to 41 newly established state and private game reserves across the country.

More than 100 Cheetahs were held temporarily at the Anne van Dyk De Wildt Cheetah Centre before being released back into free-ranging conditions at their new reserves. These actions essentially established a new network of reserves that contained Cheetahs, where they had been previously wiped out. In 2009, when the wild Cheetah component of De Wildt’s work was handed over to the EWT, this network included 217 Cheetahs on 41 reserves. Since then, we have increased this population to 455 wild Cheetahs on 63 reserves and expanded beyond South African borders to Malawi and Zambia. This restored population of wild Cheetahs currently constitutes the only growing wild Cheetah population worldwide. Over the years, the EWT and Ann worked together on numerous projects, including vulture conservation and nurturing conservation talent.

The EWT thanks Ann for her enormous contribution to Cheetah conservation through the awareness, knowledge, and value she generated for this threatened species over 60 years. We salute her and send our heartfelt condolences to the family and friends who mourn her loss.