Cheetah Conservation Fund holds 16th annual fundraising gala dinner ‘A Celebration of Speed and Elegance’

07.12.2014

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Contact: Dr. Laurie Marker (ph: 081-1247887), Dr. Bruce Brewer (ph: 081-124779), Heike Stackmann (ph: 067-304806 / 081-8197976)

CHEETAH CONSERVATION FUND HOLDS 16TH ANNUAL FUNDRAISING GALA DINNER ‘A CELEBRATION OF SPEED & ELEGANCE’

(Otjiwarongo, Namibia – 12 July 2014) – For the 16th year, the Cheetah Conservation Fund (CCF) celebrated with Namibia the speed and elegance of the cheetah at their Gala Dinner at the Windhoek Country Club on the 11th of July. Brian Badger, Operations Manager of CCF and a talented speaker, was the evening’s Master of Ceremonies. This year’s Gala was the most successful!

This year’s guest speakers were Jonathan and Angela Scott, award-winning wildlife photographers and authors. The Scotts are CCF UK patrons and well known internationally for presenting the BBC’s ‘Big Cat Diary’ from Kenya’s Masai Mara as well as other wildlife documentaries. Jonathan and Angie Scott are the only couple to have individually won the Overall Award in the prestigious Wildlife Photographer of the Year Competition – Jonathan in 1987 and Angie in 2002 (see below for full bio).

The Gala’s keynote speaker, The Hon. Uahekua Herunga, Minister of Environment and Tourism, represented HE President Hifikepunye Pohamba. While Namibia has the largest population of cheetahs, it is only one segment of the cheetah’s range, with a world population of only 10,000 individuals left in Africa.

CCF Founder and Executive Director, Dr. Laurie Marker emphasised the need to conserve Namibia’s treasures, and talked about A Future for Cheetahs which aims to foster an economic system where humans can live and within the natural scope of a healthy, intact and bio-diverse landscape.

Dr. Marker presented four 2014 Cheetah Conservation Awards (see below for bios of all award recipients), recognising who help conserve the cheetah and the Namibian environment.

Jonathan and Angela Scott were presented with CCF’s 2014 Cheetah Conservationist of the Year for their dedication to cheetah and big cat conservation.

The 2014 Cheetah Conservation Educator of the Year Award was presented to Professor Tjama Tjivikua the Founding Rector of the Polytechnic of Namibia (soon to be renamed Namibia University of Science and Technology), (see below for full bio). CCF has worked closely with Professor Tjivikua and the Polytechnic of Namibia through their Natural Resources, Agriculture and Tourism Departments, training over 100 student interns in the past 15 years.

CCF’s 2014 Conservation Business of the Year was presented to the Erindi Private Game Reserve, which is considered as one of Namibia’s best game viewing areas. Owners Gert Joubert and his nephew, Paul Joubert have transformed Erindi into a unique, best-practice ecotourism and conservation venture—constantly, implementing and monitoring programmes across all aspects of the land rehabilitation process. Erindi has provided several of CCF’s rehabilitated cheetahs providing them with a safe home within the reserve. These re-wilded cheetahs have been a huge tourism asset to Erindi, providing an incredible experience for visitors to view these animals in the wild. The restoration of wildlife to Erindi has become a real-life success story (see below for Erindi over-view).

CCF’s recognized two of their staff, Johan and Tanya Britz, for their 10 years of service to CCF. Johan Britz, the CCF Conservation Farmer of the Year, is CCF’s Farm’s Manager and Tanya Britz is CCFBush/Bushblok’s Accountant. (see below for bios).

The Gala event, which is now much-anticipated by Namibian conservation circles, is a celebration of the cheetah and high light the efforts CCF has made to ensure the survival of the cheetah in the wild for future generations. The evening included a candlelight dinner, and conservation awards, brought together over 350 guests from the business, conservation, agriculture and government sectors in Namibia and internationally. The silent auction once again was a huge success, with over 120 items donated by local and international businesses, included artwork, jewellery, Namibian craftwork and tourism ‘get-aways’ at exclusive Namibian and international tourist venues, including stays at CCF’s exclusive Babson Guest house, the NamibRand Reserve, the Swakopmund Hotel to name a few.

Editor’s notes:

The Cheetah Conservation Fund is a Namibian non-profit trust dedicated to the long-term survival of the cheetah and its ecosystems.

Since 1990, CCF has developed education and conservation programmes based on its biomedical and ecological cheetah research studies, published scientific research papers and has presented educational programmes to over 350 000 outreach school learners and over 3000 farmers. In addition, CCF has donated over 500 Anatolian livestock guarding dogs to commercial and communal farmers as part of their innovative non-lethal livestock management programme.

Research into cheetah biology has greatly increased our understanding of the fastest land animal and education programmes for schools and the farming community helps change public attitudes to allow predator and humans to co-exist. However, despite the many successes of CCF programmes, the cheetah is still Africa’s most endangered cat.

CCF has hosted several hundred wildlife biologists, conservationists and extension agents from throughout the cheetah’s range, teaching them about how to resolve human/wildlife conflict in their own countries. CCF’s motto, “We Can Live Together” is an important part of their philosophy which they teach to several thousand school learners each year from throughout Namibia.

If you would like more information on CCF’s research, conservation and education programmes, please contact CCF at:
Cheetah Conservation Fund
P.O. Box 1755, Otjiwarongo
Tel (in Namibia): (067) 306225, Tel (international): (+264 67) 306225
Fax: (067) 306247
E-mail: cheetah@iway.na
Website: www.cheetah.org

Bios for 2014 Cheetah Conservationists of the Year
2014 Cheetah Conservationists of the Year Jonathan and Angela Scott

Jonathan and Angela, ‘Angie’ Scott are the Patrons of Cheetah Conservation Fund (CCF) UK. Jonathan, although originally from England, is proud to call Kenya his home, where he has lived for nearly 40 years. He and Angie were married in1992 and have made Kenya’s Masai Mara their second home. They base themselves in a small stone cottage at Governor’s Camp in the Marsh Lion Pride territory – lions Jonathan has watched since 1977. The Scott’s say they know the Marsh Lions better than they do many of their human friends. At night they lie in bed and listen to the lions’ thunderous roars echoing across the plains at the heart of their territory. This is a never ending story and what keeps them wanting to set out early each morning. The joys of safari are one reason why so many visitors fall in love with Africa and long to return.

These same Marsh Lions became the stars of the hugely popular TV series Big Cat Diary that Jonathan co-presented for the BBC and Animal Planet from 1996 through to the final series, Big Cat Live, in 2008. The Big Cat Diaries has been watched by tens of millions of viewers around the world with hundreds of video clips on YouTube. They have given pride to Kenyans to share in this story – to see their big cats on TV. The majority will never be able to marvel at the sight of wild lions, leopards and cheetahs in the way that visitors from overseas are so fortunate to do.

Jonathan grew up on a farm in Berkshire, UK and was obsessed with wildlife and Africa. In 1974 after taking a degree in Zoology at Queens University in Belfast in Northern Ireland he set off overland for Johannesburg in an old Bedford Truck. That 10,000 km trek through Africa changed his life. Nearly 40 years later he has 26 books to his name, many of them co-authored with Angie who is also an award-winning wildlife photographer and a co-presenter of TV shows such as Big Cat Diary, Elephant Diaries, Dawn to Dusk, The Secret Leopards and The Truth About Lions.

2014 Cheetah Conservation Educator of the Year Professor Tjama Tjivikua, Founding Rector, Polytechnic of Namibia

Professor Tjama Tjivikua was appointed in 1995 as the Founding Rector of the Polytechnic of Namibia (soon to be renamed Namibia University of Science and Technology [NUST]). Since establishment, the Polytechnic has grown significantly from a small college with enrolment of just over two thousand to a global university of about thirteen thousand students today. The institution has won several national and international awards, and has been rated as the best higher education institution in Namibia since 2002.

CCF has worked closely with Professor Tjama and the Polytechnic of Namibia through their Natural Resources, Agriculture and Tourism Departments, training nearly 100 interns. The Polytechnic is internationally recognized through its qualifications and relevance, and its extensive network of partnerships.

Prior to joining the Polytechnic, Tjivikua held the following positions: Assistant Professor in Chemistry at Lincoln University (PA, U.S.A); Visiting Scientist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) (MA, U.S.A.); Research Fellow at the University of Pittsburgh (PA, U.S.A); and Research Fellow at the University of Lowell (MA, U.S.A.). He holds a BA (cum laude), MS and PhD in Organic Chemistry, and has published several articles in scientific and other journals. He was awarded the DSc (Honoris Causa) by Worcester Polytechnic Institute (USA) in 2006 and the Honorary Doctor of Humane Letters (Honoris Causa) by Lincoln University (USA) in 2013. Professor Tjivikua is the recipient of many awards and honours as a student and leader, such as the following: Service Excellence Award: Junior Achievement Namibia (2010); Education Persona – Namibia Business Hall of Fame (2010); Bank Windhoek’s Business Communicator of the Year (2008); D.Sc. (Honoris Causa), Worcester Polytechnic Institute (USA) (2006); Life Fellow: Centers for Leadership and Public Values, University of Cape Town/Duke University (2004); International Biographical Centre (IBC), Who’s Who in the 21 Century (2001); and Outstanding Young Man of America (1985). He was named by an international magazine Finweek (28 September 2006) as one of “12 most prominent and respected members since independence for having set up an excellent institution in Namibia.”

2014 Cheetah Conservation Business of the Year Erindi Private Game Reserve

In 2007, Erindi Private Game Reserve was converted from an over-grazed cattle farm, to what today is considered as one of Namibia’s best game viewing areas. Owners Gert Joubert and his nephew, Paul Joubert, re-introduced numerous species that once occurred naturally in the area. They have transformed Erindi into a unique, best-practice ecotourism and conservation venture—constantly, implementing and monitoring programmes across all aspects of the land rehabilitation process. Their achievements are due to teamwork, passion and partnerships.

During early 2000, CCF and Erindi teamed up to help Namibia’s cheetahs. Several of CCF’s rehabilitated cheetahs have ended up at Erindi, providing them with a safe home within the reserve. These re-wilded cheetahs have been a huge tourism asset to Erindi, providing an incredible experience for visitors to view these animals in the wild. The restoration of wildlife to Erindi has become a real-life success story.

2014 Cheetah Conservation Fund Service Award Johan and Tanya Britz – for 10 Years of Service to Cheetah Conservation Fund

Johan Britz, CCF’ Conservation Farmer is responsible for overseeing the functioning of every aspect of CCF farms, including supply of water, electricity, working vehicles, wildlife and livestock management. He also manages all the farm workers and oversees agricultural university students.

Johan has years of experience in cattle farm work and is a former Agricultural Training Officer at Neudamm Agricultural College, lecturing on Game Farming, Large Stock Farming, Financial Management, Agricultural Marketing and Strategic Planning and Production Economics. He is co-author of the paper Integrating Game into Conventional Animal Production Systems in Namibia, presented at the British Society of Animal Production/Animal Production Society Kenya Conference in Nairobi, Kenya (1998), and co-author of the Complementarity of Game with Livestock Production in Namibia, published by the World Animal Review.

He holds a Master’s degree in Sustainable Agriculture from Orange Free state University, South Africa, and a B.Sc. in Agriculture, Animal Science and Agricultural Economics from Stellenbosch University, South Africa.

Tanya Britz has years of experience as an accountant and has been working with CCF since 2003 as CCF’s main accountant and now works part time as the CCF Bush Accountant. She holds Bachelor’s degrees in Commerce and Computing. Tanya and Johan have two children.

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By: CCF Staff