Last September on #WorldRabiesDay as a response to the theme “Share the Message. Save a Life”, CCF engaged in a public outreach campaign in Namibia focusing on the cause, prevention and treatment of rabies. Staff handed out flyers and engaged with local visitors to place posters across CCF’s service area. The posters (seen below) were designed by CCF USA volunteer Christopher Michaels, with artwork by Dr. Monique Kuypers, one of our visiting vets from the Netherlands who worked with Christopher with the final design.
Rabies is a problem affecting the wildlife in Namibia. As rabies is spread between unvaccinated domestic animals it passed very easily to wildlife populations. The best way to minimize rabies contraction in wildlife is to promote awareness and encourage vaccinations for domestic companion and working animals.
Thanks to grants by FHREE, Disney and Tusk organizations, CCF’s strategy has expanded from awareness and education to include a new mobile veterinary care clinic that allows the large-scale vaccination of animals, bringing veterinary care directly to the community. The clinic will become one of our most important outreach tools.
The first expedition for vaccinations was in the Eastern Communal Conservancies and was led by CCF’s Veterinarian Dr. Robin Gieling along with a team including Namibian paravets. Over the first two days CCF’s team was able to administer vaccines to 153 animals! In the following week, the team reached 700 vaccinations!
The 500th animal was a cat owned by Aron Kavehamo (on the left), who has been helping CCF since last April. Aron has agreed to help CCF in testing E-Shepherd collars on his farm as a possible mitigation method for livestock losses to predators. Hopefully the collars, worn by livestock, can help CCF reduce human-wildlife conflict. Dr. Robin Gieling was assisted by one of our CCF Namibian interns Petoorua Mberibua, and Ecologist Carolina Torres.
“Since we began, on the first trip in late March, we have just vaccinated over 700 domestic animals and we will continue our efforts to reach the community and help stop the spread of the debilitating disease” says Dr. Robin.
Outreach will also continue with our education team. Gobabis CCF Researcher, Dr. Hanlie Winterbach has met with the Ministry of Environment and Tourism Regional Offices to distribute CCF’s print resources, our new rabies awareness posters and the human/wildlife conflict Farmer Carnivore Help Hotline posters. The print resources have become a welcomed addition to community centers and outreach programs across rural Namibia.