Cheetah Centre leads the way
Cheetah Centre leads the way
Namibia is home to 25% of all wild cheetahs in the world, estimated at about 10,000 in 23 African countries and a few in Iran. More than 90% live outside protected areas on private land. Consequently, cheetah in Namibia remain threatened by some farmers who still view them as a threat to their livestock and game.
The Cheetah Conservation Fund is an international organisation based in north-central Namibia, the heart of cheetah country, and has worked actively with the farming community for over 20 years to develop livestock and game management practices that are ‘predator friendly.’ At the heart of CCF’s programming is its world-renowned Field Research and Education Centre.
CCF’s centre features ongoing scientific research programmes run alongside the day-to-day work of a model farm, as well as a facility for orphaned or injured cheetah. CCF’s research of cheetah biology and ecology includes physical examinations, laboratory analyses, radio-tracking and survey techniques including camera trapping and the use of scat detection dogs.
CCF has worked with over 800 cheetahs, giving each a full medical examination and taking samples for its database, which includes a Genome Resource Bank with over 300 cheetah sperm samples as well as blood and tissue samples. Over 600 cheetahs have been released back into the wild, and those with radio collars provide valuable data on movements of cheetahs and home-range sizes that assists with mitigating farmer conflict and re-introduction programmes in areas where cheetahs have become extinct.
Since 1994, CCF has bred and donated nearly 400 Anatolian Shepherd and Kangal dogs to farmers to protect their livestock. CCF conducts training programmes for local farmers as well as conservation scientists from other cheetah-range countries. In Namibia, farmers have grown increasingly tolerant towards cheetahs on their lands. Model programmes pioneered by CCF in Namibia have been adopted in Kenya, Botswana, South Africa, Zimbabwe, Zambia, Niger, South Sudan, Algeria and Iran.
As an integral part of its education and conservation programmes, CCF opens its Field Research and Education Centre near Otijwarongo to the public to learn about the cheetah’s race for survival. Guests can watch cheetahs run or take a cheetah photo safari, visit CCF’s clinic and genetics laboratory and can stay at Babson Guest House.
If wild populations continue to decline, and habitat conservation efforts fail, the cheetah could face extinction within two decades. CCF is determined to continue collecting and studying critical data from cheetah, and to develop effective conservation techniques so that the oldest species of big cat does not disappear forever.
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Read more articles from this issue:
Zambezi Traveller (Issue 10, Sept 2012)
The Septemeber 2012 issue of the Zambezi Traveller focused on cheetah and the amazing work done in preserving this magnificent animal in the Zambezi region.
You can download the full pdf version of this issue here.