Despite our tremendous progress in Namibia, the cheetah needs our help more than ever. In other parts of Africa where cheetahs once thrived, these beautiful big cats are slipping away. Cheetahs require huge territories to sustain healthy populations, and with growing numbers of humans and livestock animals sharing the land, there is simply not enough space. Conservation initiatives that reduce conflict like our Future Farmers of Africa and Livestock Guarding Dog programs are needed more than ever to help wild cheetahs survive.
Please donate to Cheetah Conservation Fund (CCF) during our 2018 Year-End Home Range for the Holidays Campaign so our programs keep going strong. All gifts made between now and December 31, 2018, will be matched dollar-for-dollar by a group of generous CCF Challengers — up to $275,000. This means the amount of your gift will automatically double, and it will go twice as far in helping CCF secure more habitat for cheetahs in Africa.
CCF’s Home Range for the Holidays Campaign is one of our most important fundraising efforts, and it comes at a critical time of year. The money we raise will enable us to continue our long-term research, education and conservation programs in Namibia into 2019, and can help us extend our impact for the cheetah across the species’ African range. Although the situation is dire, looking back over the past three decades, we have accomplished a great deal, and we have many reasons to feel hopeful. Together, we have:
- Improved livelihoods for the families of more than 10,000 rural Namibians who have completed our Future Farmers of Africa training course. CCF teaches land users best agricultural practices, including non-lethal predator control techniques, like kraaling, coordinated breeding, and livestock, wildlife and rangeland management.
- Bred, trained and placed more than 650 CCF Livestock Guarding Dogs (LGDs) with Namibian farmers to protect their goats and sheep. These large dogs with an intimidating presence and loud bark serve as a buffer between farmers and predators, sparing cheetahs and other predators from lethal conflict.
- Influenced more than 550,000 Namibian young learners through our Future Conservationists of Africa wildlife education and outreach initiative. This program educates and inspires future generations of ecologists, conservationists and government leaders, which makes CCF’s impact sustainable over the long term.
- Restored thousands of acres of Namibian farmlands for the shared use of farmers, livestock and wildlife by selectively harvesting excess thorn bush and converting it into a cleanburning, eco-friendly, biomass fuel product, Bushblok. We’ve also trained more than 500 conservationists representing 15 cheetah range countries in predator-friendly, rangeland management.
- Conducted long-term research studies that have shaped our understanding of how cheetahs live in the wild. By collecting and banking biological samples from more than 1,000 cheetahs over the past four decades, CCF made the mapping of the cheetah genome possible. Our scientists have also released more than 650 cheetahs back onto the landscape and rewilded more than 50 captive cheetahs.
To create a permanent home for cheetahs on Earth, we must address the threat of habitat loss across the species African range. We need your help! Will you continue to be our partner in this important mission? Please give to CCF during our 2018 Home Range for the Holidays Year-End Campaign. Donations made by the deadline will automatically double (up to $275,000), meaning your gift can generate double the impact for this majestic big cat.
On behalf of the staff, cheetahs and all other living creatures at CCF, we thank you for your partnership. Remember, together is how we’ve come this far, and together is how we will continue to achieve success.
Banner photo by Craig Taylor
Reviewing Our Resolutions
How’d We Do This Year?
Several years ago, we began making CCF New Year’s Resolutions. We did this as a way of creating organizational goals and holding ourselves accountable to you, our partners. As we come to the end of 2018, it’s time to review our accomplishments and compare them to the goals we set last December. We asked our staff to share some of their highlights, and here’s how they matched up: Strengthen our partnerships with conservation organizations around the world. United, we can save the cheetah!
“The process of writing and editing CHEETAHS: Biology & Conservation brought together 150 cheetah researchers representing almost every cheetah conservation project in existence. Each contributed to this comprehensive textbook. The research projects are presented in chronological order, and so the chapters build a timeline, such that new researchers entering the field can pick up where others left off. I am very proud to have contributed to this project along with Dr. Laurie Marker, as co-author and co-editor.”
Continue on-going research studies that increase our understanding of the cheetah and enhance its chances for survival.
“Savanna, the daughter of a cheetah we released at Erindi Reserve three years ago, gave birth to another litter of cubs in May. We consider reproduction to be the key indicator of rewilding success for cheetahs. As of the end of June, Savanna took her cubs out of the nest for the first time and brought them to a kill, which was incredible to watch. Savanna is having much success with this litter, but raising cubs to adulthood is a very difficult task for a mother cheetah, particularly in an area with lions, leopards, and spotted hyenas. We will continue to monitor the small family closely and support them as necessary.”
Offer Future Farmers of Africa workshops in the most remote farming communities of Namibia, the ‘hot spots’ for conflict between farmers, cheetahs and wild dogs, to improve the situation for all stakeholders.
“In January, we kicked off the second phase of our Go Green Camera Trap survey in the communal conservancies of the Greater Waterberg Landscape. Predominantly communal farmland, livestock farmer-carnivore conflict is high even though little is known about local wildlife. The camera trap survey will give us a better understanding conflict hot spots, and by working alongside farmers to place the cameras, we will determine farmer perceptions of wildlife and problem animals through social surveys. By integrating ecological and social research, we can better understand animal ecology and mitigate conflict.”
Welcome more overnight visitors from around the globe at Babson House and Cheetah View Lodge to create more international ambassadors for the species.
“Tourism is one of Namibia’s fastest growing industries. This is very exciting, because CCF is emerging as one of the region’s leading travel and tourism destinations. In 2018, CCF welcomed 10,000 day visitors and more than 700 overnight guests at Cheetah View Lodge (CVL) & Babson House. In June, we celebrated the one-year CVL anniversary, and in July and August, we were booked almost solid! CVL gives us the flexibility to host groups of friends and family, which is a total game-changer.”
Expand CCF’s Livestock Guarding Dog Program to breed, train and place more dogs with Namibian farmers, so that those who choose non-lethal predator control methods can have one.
“Thanks to a grant from the Tusk Trust in the UK, we were able to place 10 dogs in the Opuwo district in the Kunene region – a new area for CCF LGDs. I have made several long trips to Opuwo to check on the dogs, and I am happy to say that all are doing well. I am monitoring a total of 170 dogs in the field right now, which is a very big job. Fortunately, I love every minute of it.”
Conduct more Education & Outreach programs with more schools and host even more students at CCF’s Centre, to increase understanding and appreciation for the cheetah.
“To reach all the schools on our list, we began our outreach programs in January. Traveling from school to school in our famous Cheetah Bus, we presented programs to more than 10,000 Namibian students in 2018, covering wildlife behavior, ecology and conservation. At the Centre, the learning experiences were more immersive. Depending on the length of stay and the group focus, activities can include cheetah runs, museum tour, guarding dog and goat kraal talks, predator-kill identification exercises, ecological talks, and game drives.”
Grow more vegetables and fruits (including grapes) and make more honey at CCF. Yum!
“This year, CCF’s garden produced an amazing variety of fresh vegetables — beans, beetroot, carrots, daikon radishes, peas, squash, lettuces, turnips, parsnips, rutabagas, cilantro, chard, endive, mustard, rocket, spinach, radishes, and okra. Cucumbers, tomatoes and pumpkins were the most productive crops. CCF has been building up its apiary to produce honey and to teach local farmers how to produce honey for food and added income. Along with CCF’s Model Farm, the apiary demonstrates predator-friendly farming techniques, as honeybees are part of an integrated farming system that diversifies income and adds value to the landscape.”
Train even more Africans pursuing careers in conservation, biology, ecology and tourism, to make CCF’s work on the continent sustainable.
“As part of an exchange program with Langston University’s American Institute for Goat Research, I spent three weeks training on Langston’s campus in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. I learned how to collect dairy goat semen using an electronic ejaculator, how to evaluate semen, three artificial insemination techniques and how to freeze sperm. I am very excited to share what I’ve learned with dairy goat farmers in Namibia.”
Work with more schools, zoos and other institutional partners to make International Cheetah Day even bigger and better than ever.
“Dag Jonzon, a Swedish documentary filmmaker, visited Namibia to make a special to air December 4, International Cheetah Day, for Swedish national public television. The show will recount the story of Goran Lindstrom, a longtime CCF volunteer, and his passion for the cheetah. People are now coming to us with their ideas for marking our favorite holiday – how fantastic!”
Improve Bushblok by utilizing a carbonization process that creates lighter, more marketable, clean-burning fuel logs at the factory adjacent to CCF’s Centre.
“The CK-3 Kiln we added to the Biomass Technology Demonstration Centre is a ‘green’ charcoal technology. It densifies the caloric content of the briquettes while reducing shipping weight. The CK-3 may be able to produce as much as one ton of carbonized Bushblok briquettes in a single 24-hour cycle. Bringing viable biomass technologies like this to central Namibia creates employment and generates power for people without electricity, and at the same time, restores wildlife habitat and improves farmland productivity.”
Make CCF more sustainable by incorporating solar power and other clean technologies to operate CCF’s Centre.
“Late last year – after many years in the planning — thanks to The Turkish Cooperation and Coordination Agency (TIKA) and Emanuel J. Friedman Philanthropies, we installed a 75 Kw solar array on the Visitor Centre roof. There are now 252 solar panels making up an area of 455 square meters to harvest the suns energy. The photovoltaic power system provides electricity sufficient to operate CCF’s main campus and simultaneously charge a battery system for use in the night. Previously, CCF used a diesel genset that had to be run 17 hours a day to power operations. While genset operation still occurs so batteries can be charged when the sun is not intense enough, operation of the diesel generator has been reduced to 7 hours per day. In the future, we hope to eliminate genset operation altogether.”