Cheetah Conservation Project Zimbabwe
Cheetah Conservation Project Zimbabwe was founded in 2012. The project aims to conserve cheetahs through applied research, education, collaboration and capacity building. With our research we try to address questions that can help us to improve the conservation strategy of cheetahs. We try to build capacity in carnivore conservation by working together with young Zimbabwean students and, where necessary, provide education to field staff about cheetahs, carnivore conservation and human-carnivore conflict mitigation.
Since 2021 Cheetah Conservation Project Zimbabwe falls under Oxford University, as a new addition to WildCRU’s Trans-Kalahari Predator Programme.
The cheetah team
The cheetah team is lead by Dr. Lovemore Sibanda. Students from local Zimbabwean universities join the cheetah team for various periods of time to gain experience in carnivore conservation. In addition, we work together with students from the Mushandike Wildlife College, the college where employees from the Zimbabwe Parks and Wildlife Management Authority receive their training.
Dr. Lovemore Sibanda
Lovemore is leading Cheetah Conservation Project Zimbabwe under Oxford University, as part of WildCRU’s Trans-Kalahari Predator Programme. Lovemore joined WildCRU in 2010, when he started working as a Community Liaison Officer for the Hwange Lion Research. He moved to Oxford in 2014 to undertake the Recanati-Kaplan Centre Postgraduate Diploma in International Wildlife Conservation Practice and recently completed his DPhil with WildCRU in which he evaluated the effectiveness of a lion-human conflict mitigation method. Lovemore is keen to use his knowledge and research qualities to make a significant contribution to the conservation of Zimbabwe's cheetahs.
In order to build capacity in carnivore conservation our field team consists of young Zimbabwean students. Some are joining us as part of their attachment year, some are joining us after graduation to gain additional experience in carnivore conservation.
Cheetah Conservation Project Zimbabwe was founded by Dr. Esther van der Meer and her husband Hans Dullemont with the aim to conserve cheetahs through applied research, education, collaboration and capacity building. When they founded the project in 2012, there was no organization working on the conservation of cheetahs in Zimbabwe and there was little up to date knowledge about the species. They therefore started the project by carrying out a nation wide cheetah population survey.
Dr. Esther van der Meer
Esther studied biology at Utrecht University, the Netherlands, where she obtained an MSc in ecology and an MSc in environmental education. After finishing her studies she worked as a lobbyist/policy advisor for a Dutch animal welfare organization. In 2006 she moved to Zimbabwe to work on a PhD on African wild dog conservation ecology. After finishing her PhD she set up Cheetah Conservation Project Zimbabwe.
After working as a mechanic in the Netherlands for seventeen years Hans decided it was time to see the world. In 2004 he came to Zimbabwe to help a conservation project to get their cars back on the road. Ever since then he has worked as a mechanic all over the African continent. In 2012 he settled in Zimbabwe to assist his wife with Cheetah Conservation Project Zimbabwe.