Intern Story – Cheetah Conservation Fund (CCF) Field Attachment Journey

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I have always dreamed of being described as someone who made changes, but I have realised that dream is doomed if I do not take action to fulfill it. The Cheetah Conservation Fund is where I have started realising how important and meaningful my dream is.

I stayed at CCF from the 12 December 2016 to 20 January 2017 as an intern from the University Of Namibia, Katima Mulilo Campus. I have done 3 years of my 4 year degree under the Faculty of Agriculture studying Wildlife Management and Ecotourism. The course I am studying describes exactly what my ambition is. During my time here at CCF I was assigned to sort Camera Trap photos of Leopards in a population study of Leopard in the Waterberg Conservancy through spot I.D. I also worked on putting that data into the database. I learned many practical skills including a basic understanding of geographic information systems (GIS) and other study methods. My internship has provided me with the skills I need and I have learned that to effectively manage wildlife we need to know our species’ population structure and their population dynamics.

University has shaped me theoretically but my Internship has provided a way for me to gain practical experience. CCF has taught me that to follow my path I need passion to enjoy what I do, to plan for better strategies that will lead to successes, dedication to achieve what I have planned and flexibility in a continuously changing and challenging field.

The highlights of my time here have been my fieldwork with monitoring camera traps, and the drives as-well-as the game count activities I took part in, gave me an opportunity to see different animals I have not seen before and appreciate the beauty of my country. I have also really enjoyed other day to day tasks at CCF like walking and feeding the Livestock Guarding Dogs at CCF we use to mitigate human-wildlife conflict, bottle feeding our baby goats at our model farm, cleaning pens and feeding the cheetahs, most of which came in as orphans, who are unable to return to the wild. These personal experiences with the animals here at CCF have instilled a passion towards animals that I did not have before. Every activity here at CCF serves a purpose of educating and assisting in conservation efforts to support farmers who struggle with human wildlife conflict.

Meeting different people with different cultures and from different countries who work as a team has reminded me of my home where my elders taught me that the wealth of people is in its people.

I have learned that we need to save the cheetah to change the world.

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