A safe haven for cheetah


Introducing The Cheetah Family.

The Cheetah Family are a coalition of rescued cheetah who live at Ensessa Kotteh, Born Free’s wildlife sanctuary in Ethiopia.

A blended family, members have been brought together for lifetime care at the sanctuary, with many having been stolen from the wild to be sold as pets and status symbols in the Middle East, before being confiscated by the authorities. As victims of the illegal wildlife trade, they do not have the survival skills to be reintroduced into the wild, and so live happily at Ensessa Kotteh. Their natural habitat homes are filled with trees, climbing platforms and undergrowth to explore.

Ensessa Kotteh is currently home to ten cheetah, aged between one and 11 years old.
Six-year-old sisters Tamu and Nura love to wind each other up. Nura waits until Tamu is starting to doze-off before pouncing on her! The ambush ends with a playful roll together before the pair collapse in the long grass.

Hailu, an older male member of the family recently had an embarrassing incident with a mouse. Having spotted the rodent nibbling on some grass in his enclosure, Hailu started to stalk it, preparing to pounce. But, as he leapt, the mouse disappeared and Hailu crash-landed in an embarrassed heap!

Coro is one of the newest members of The Cheetah Family and he’s growing fast! It’s always playtime for Coro but he’s gentle when it comes to chasing and playing with his sister Pollyanna.

Maggie Balaskas, Born Free’s Acting Head of Rescue and Care, says: “The cheetah at Ensessa Kotteh have strong group bonds. They are often seen curled up together resting in the shade under the trees looking perfectly contented.”

Ensessa Kotteh only houses wild animals in need – those injured, orphaned or confiscated from illegal trade or ownership. Each animal that enters Ensessa Kotteh – from birds to primates to big cats – is carefully assessed to see whether full rehabilitation and successful release back to the wild is feasible. Those who cannot be released, such as The Cheetah Family, are provided with lifetime care. The centre also offers education programmes to teach students about nature, wildlife and human-wildlife co-existence.

Help us provide a safe haven for cheetah and other rescued wild animals in Ethiopia.