by Patricia Tricorache
Cheetah being released on Namibian farmlands.
I just noticed your web page and decided to address your question on behalf of the Cheetah Conservation Fund (CCF), where I serve as the Asst. Director for International Programs.
In Namibia, more than 90% of wild cheetahs live on privately owned farmland. Here they come into conflict with farmers defending their livestock.
Livestock is the farmers' livelihood, and if a cheetah is killing their animals, they are legally allowed to remove them. Officially, the options a farmer has when dealing with a captured cheetah are: shoot the cheetah, release it, or call a recognized NGO such as CCF, which has a long track-record in this country of integrated conservation programmes.
NGOs such as CCF are allowed to work with farmers to secure the release of the cheetah or its removal, and thanks to programs such as our Livestock Guarding Dogs and other integrated approaches, developed in collaboration with the farmers to prevent livestock losses in the first place, less cheetahs are being killed on Namibian farmlands.
Furthermore, CCF has hosted a southern African regional meeting, under the auspices of the Global Cheetah Forum, with the objectives of increasing collaboration on a southern African regional level for cheetah conservation. CCF developed and runs farmers' training courses such as the Integrated Livestock and Wildlife Management. In 2007, 10 courses were run for over 250 farmers around the country.
CCF also participates actively in the Large Carnivore Management Association of Namibia (LCMAN, where CCF staff have been the secretariat for four years). LCMAN was initiated by the Ministry of Environment and Tourism (MET - the government conservation body) in 1996, to ensure collaboration on the conservation of ALL large carnivores by all sectors. MET, NGOs, the veterinary association, individual members, Namibian farmers and the Namibian Professional Hunters Organization (NAPHO) are all working together to develop strategies to ensure the survival of the cheetah on Namibian farmlands.
Namibia is serving as a role model for other African countries as far as conservation (which embraces sustainable utilisation of its wildlife) goes, and is currently a leader in community-based natural resource management strategies.
Outside Namibia, CCF works actively on an international level gathering support and working collaboratively with international conservationists and researchers supporting the conservation of the cheetah throughout its range. CCF is very active in cheetah-range countries including Algeria, Iran and Kenya, and works closely with the Cheetah Conservation Botswana project and the National Cheetah Conservation Forum in South Africa.
Namibia's sound conservation policies have contributed to stabilising the cheetah population. This is an important fact, as Namibia has the largest number of wild cheetahs in the world (about 20-30%). It is important to remember that in the decade of the 80s, before CCF was founded in Namibia, the cheetah population was reduced by half. The number of cheetahs killed has been reduced dramatically thanks to the collaborative efforts on many fronts in Namibia.
Hopefully, along with our efforts, there will be people interested in supporting our work which, as a non-profit organization, is only possible because of the generosity of individuals and organisations that make donations. Currently we are caring for ~50 non-releasable cheetahs at our Centre. We need help to cover their expenses for food and care. If anyone is interested in helping, please visit our website: Cheetah Conservation Fund
Sorry for the long answer, but I felt it was important to cover all aspects of human-wildlife conflict in Namibia.
All the best,
Cheetah Conservation Fund
Thanks for this very informative article. I was upset about the plight of the cheetah. I now feel better about the cheetah. I have converted your web page address into a link.