For Immediate Release
4th July, 2012

The three cheetah cubs in Mara before they were relocated to the Nairobi Animal Orphanage. The female cub in the middle subsequently died of abuse. Photo Credit: cee4life

Investigation by Australian Agency reveals Ongoing Capture of Cheetah Cubs from the Mara and Relocation to Private Concerns Via Nairobi Animal Orphanage, Kenya.

There has been a long running scheme involving conservation personalities in which the Kenya Wildlife Services (KWS) has unwittingly participated in, involving the capture of cheetahs from national parks and reserves and their relocation into privately owned and run captive facilities, a report carried out by an Australian-based organization, cee4life, reveals.

In the report, three cheetah cubs which were being rehabilitated for subsequent release in the Mara Triangle were confiscated by the authorities (KWS) and taken to the Nairobi Animal Orphanage contrary to an earlier agreement between the two to eventually release them into the Mara Triangle.

There has been a continuous influx of cheetah cubs at the Animal Orphanage, with some of the cubs being given as tokens to private individuals ostensibly to create more space for incoming orphans. The report also reveals plans to have some of the animals relocated to an upcoming facility in a ranch in Nakuru, which in turn plans to exploit the animals for entertainment and profit under the guise of education and awareness.

Dubbed “The Mara Cheetah Cubs Report”, the 66-page document mentions a prominent member of the Kenya’s conservation fraternity as one of the people behind the scandal. Ms. Mary Wykstra of Action for Cheetahs in Kenya, is revealed as one of the persons working fervently behind the scenes to ensure that the cubs are relocated to the Nairobi Orphanage so that they can be later given out to private individuals in running the aforementioned facility.

The report says, “as the investigation progressed, it was found that Ms Wykstra has endorsed a captive cheetah facility on one of the Rift valley ranches.” According to the report, the “cheetah centre” is to be built by an American organization called Cat Haven, which funds Ms Wykstra’s work in Kenya. Ms Wykstra is quoted in the report as saying; “I endorsed the proposal from Cat Haven three years ago. Six months after the endorsement, the KWS director issued a letter stating that KWS would assist in the development of the Cat Haven facility to take the pressure off of the Nairobi Orphanage.”

In a shocking revelation, Ms Wykstra, who is not a Kenyan citizen, is reported to have access to government documents from KWS in her continued efforts to source cubs for the said ‘cheetah centre’. For instance, Ms Wykstra admitted being privy to official KWS documentation regarding Mara cub removal. On this, the report says, “private Government internal emails or memos going to a foreign citizen with allegedly no “close ties” within KWS is of concern and highly unusual.”

When it was known that KWS had planned to confiscate the cubs in the Mara Triangle in early May, there was global outcry, with over 3,000 concerned individuals signing an online petition against the move in just a few days. KWS reacted by issuing a statement in defense of their actions. Terming the Animal Orphanage as “providing professional care to the cheetahs”, the wildlife body is reported to be opposed to releasing the animals in the wild saying, “attempts to release captive reared cheetahs to the wild have been unsuccessful.” However, the report disputes this, citing 107 successful cheetah release cases in Africa, 12 of which have been documented in Kenya.

The cheetah is an endangered species, with its population in the Mara ecosystem being on a steady decline. This is attributed to outbreaks of mange, high cub mortality and predation. With less than 30 individuals recorded in a recent census in the Mara, the cheetah faces a serious threat of local extinction. “It is noted that KWS and the carnivore experts did not consider the consequences of removing the Mara cubs from (the) ecosystem in the survival of the species as a whole,” states the report.

Gathering information from Kenyan-based and international investigators in the form of statements, video footage and other means, the investigation is hailed by prominent scholars for its credibility. Dr. Steven Best, a US Professor of Humanities and Philosophy, describes the report: “Few times in my life have I read such a meticulously documented, thoroughly researched, utterly persuasive, and powerful expose of one of the most deceptive, cynical, and manipulative frauds in conservation history.” He continues to ask: “Does Kenya want ecological death or biological regeneration? Do they want their reserves to be graveyards or teeming with life?”

The report confirms earlier suspicions that big cats, and specifically the cheetah, have occasionally been captured from Kenya’s protected areas and subsequently been handed over to private individuals via the Nairobi Animal Orphanage for unknown reasons and contrary to conservation best practice.

Cee4life confirms in addition that one of the three cheetah cubs has since died at the KWS facility on 01-07-2012, and the remaining two are being kept in unnatural and improper conditions.

Among other things, the report calls for an immediate and thorough investigation into claims of massive illegal trade in orphaned cheetahs via KWS and to be conducted by a separate and higher authority outside of KWS; and any cheetahs that have been found to be given as “gifts” be returned to an ethical facility. It also recommends that KWS officially approve the release program that has been presented to them by Mara Conservancy, and implement an immediate start to the official scientific program for wild release of cheetah.

For further information, please contact:

Sybelle Foxcroft
CEO Cee4life


Below is the original shocking report of the lies used by the “animal orphanage” to justify stealing three cheetah cubs — genetically crucial for biological diversity and preservation of the cheetah species — from professional wildlife rehabilitation, in order to be held in captivity, exploited for spectacle and tourist dollars, and even tortured. Despite the strongly documented and irrefutable facts of this report, the Kenyan government sided with the exploiters over the rehabilitators at the Mara Conservancy, EVEN AFTER ONE CUB JUST DIED OF GROSS ABUSE AND NEGLECT. More stunning information and shocking video will be posted to this blog within days. This report is well worth the time it takes to read. For regular updates and further reports, exposes, and information of this appalling scandal see Sybelle Foxcroft’s site, Cee4life.

Cee4life: Mara Cheetah Cub Report


Cheetahs on the brink of extinction, Wild Time Radio

Prominent Names in Cheetah Capture Scam