International Collaboration

A Warm Welcome for Wilhelma

  • by Tim Hofmann December 5, 2022
A Warm Welcome for Wilhelma

CCF was recently visited by a representative from Wilhelma Zoological-Botanical Garden Stuttgart, Kerstin Ludmann and her husband Marc who were on vacation in Namibia. Kerstin is the Great Ape Curator, and she heads up Animal Transports at Wilhelma. During their visit Kerstin and Marc met several of our staff and got to hear more about their lives, their roles, and the departments where they work. They learned how Wilhelma’s support is helping CCF to accomplish our holistic conservation approach.

At the Model Farm they met Eveline Ikondja, CCF’s Assistant Livestock Guarding Dog (LGD) Programme Manager, who explained the role of LGDs. They learned more about how the LGDs are raised to protect livestock. The Model Farm is also where we conduct farmer training and livelihood development. Kerstin and Marc met Ookondo, one of our youngest LGDs, a breeding male sponsored by Wilhelma (Picture with caption Ookondo means “strong” in the local Oshiwambo language). We all enjoyed some of CCF’s homemade ice cream at the Dancing Goat Creamery. The creamery is also part of livelihood development training to assist rural farmers living alongside predators to diversify their income. Everyone was impressed with their delicious treat.

Kerstin and Marc then met Becky Johnston, CCF’s Cheetah Keeper and Studbook Assistant, which was nice as they had exchanged several emails related to the studbook already. From here we went out to meet the non-releasable resident cheetahs with Lea Petersen, Head Cheetah Keeper. They got to feed some of the cheetahs, and they enjoyed watching them chase the vehicle as part of their exercise routine.

They joined Dr. Bruce Brewer, General Manager for CCF and Head of Bushblok, which plays a major role in CCF’s habitat restoration program. Dr. Brewer has an extensive background working in zoos and the group exchanged stories about their experiences over coffee. We did a short walking tour around the center with an overview of some of our other projects and initiatives.

We chatted about the scat detection dog project, CCF’s genetics work, illegal wildlife/pet trade mitigation and our efforts to save the cheetah in Somaliland. They really enjoyed their experience and we really enjoyed hosting them. I hope they took some good stories home to share at Wilhelma. We didn’t manage to introduce all the people that we had intended but we hope they will return for another visit soon.

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