Botswana

Okavango

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Domestic animal care protects wildlife

Domestic animal care protects wildlife

Domestic animal care protects wildlife

Improving the lives of domestic animals across Botswana
Maun Animal Welfare Society (MAWS) is a non-profit organisation which aims to improve the lives and health of domestic animals by providing free veterinary services to low-income individuals in northern Botswana.

We welcome vets and vet nurses year-round who travel to Maun to volunteer with us. From our purpose-built veterinary clinic we utilise locally-raised funds to undertake routine sterilisations and administer vaccinations. We also provide life-saving emergency treatment or humane euthanasia to animals beyond help. Furthermore, we reunite, rehome and rehabilitate lost, found and stray animals and provide an emergency first-response service to injured livestock.

Our international funding allows us to conduct outreach clinics throughout Botswana, specifically targeting rural areas where villagers live side-by-side with wildlife. This work brings vital veterinary care to remote locations and helps to prevent the transmission of distemper and rabies: diseases which can decimate wildlife including endangered species such as African wild dogs and cheetahs, plus other predators including lions and leopards.

Protecting Botswana’s wildlife through domestic animal care
Our outreach work is endorsed by several internationally-recognised wildlife charities including Cheetah Conservation Botswana (CCB), an organisation which shares MAWS’ goal of controlling domestic animals so they do not encroach on or infect wildlife populations.

We undertake frequent outreach clinics on behalf of CCB, centred around their Ghanzi camp on the rural farming outskirts of the Central Kalahari Game Reserve. CCB is working to encourage farmers to use non-lethal methods of predator control. At present, predator species are often killed as they are considered a threat to livestock, so the proper use of livestock guarding dogs to minimise predator livestock loss is an important tool to reduce conflict. These dogs live permanently with the livestock and are placed with their herd as puppies, growing up as a member of the herd and aggressively defending the livestock against predators. Many predators, like the cheetah, can be chased away by an effective guard dog.

CCB runs a Livestock Guarding Dog Network where members receive training on the proper use of the technique and free veterinary care including vaccinations, sterilisation and general veterinary assistance. CCB has been partnering with MAWS since 2009 to provide veterinary support for these livestock guarding dogs, a successful collaboration during which we’ve treated approximately 300 dogs. During the visits we vaccinate and sterilise other community dogs to ensure a reduction in local canine diseases, the spread of which threatens the health of livestock guarding dogs, as well as local predator populations.

For more information or to make a donation, please visit www.maunanimalwelfare.com

Read more articles from this issue:
Zambezi Traveller (Issue 10, Sept 2012)