Life at CCF

Featured Staff – Calum O’Flaherty – Livestock Guarding Dog Programme Manager

  • by Lauren Pfeiffer July 10, 2019
Featured Staff – Calum O’Flaherty – Livestock Guarding Dog Programme Manager

Calum grew up in a small village, just outside Reading in the United Kingdom. Calum was very lucky having come from a family who loved to travel, visiting new, exotic locations with each holiday. In 2004, Calum first visited Africa, Kenya to be specific, and it was here that he first developed his love for African wildlife, nature and conservation.

Calum went to the University of Leicester to pursue an undergraduate degree in Geology, during which he realised how much he wanted to follow his passion in animal conservation. To make this dream a reality, Calum spent the year following his graduation volunteering in numerous zoos and wildlife parks around the UK, working with animals from polar bears to penguins. He also volunteered in with PANTHERA in South Africa, working on a leopard study at an emerging game reserve. With the new skills and knowledge he had acquired over this gap year, Calum went on to pursue an MSc in Global Wildlife Health and Conservation at the University of Bristol.

Whilst undertaking his MSc degree, Calum’s passion for wildlife and conservation grew. He worked very closely with the veterinary team at Bristol Zoo practicing some basic wildlife medicine and enjoyed numerous trips to wildlife rehabilitation centres around the UK. This, and Calum’s love for travel led him to pursue a dissertation subject abroad. Through research and word of mouth, Calum heard about the amazing Livestock Guarding Dog (LGD) program that was being run at CCF and a project was formed looking at the effectiveness of these dogs. Calum came out to CCF in the summer of 2017 to collect data on Livestock Guarding Dogs using GPS collars. His time studying the dogs, working with the staff at CFF and the beautiful country of Namibia were difficult to forget when returning home and he was adamant that he needed to go back at the first opportunity. He didn’t have to wait long and in January of the next year he was invited to present his work at the Pathways Conference in Windhoek and once again visited CCF to see the Livestock Guarding Dogs.

After graduating from his MSc, Calum secured employment as an Animal Keeper at Cotswold Wildlife Park and Gardens. Originally employed as a reptile keeper, over the following year Calum regularly worked on all sections within the zoo, including large mammals and primates, birds and small mammals. Whilst he enjoyed his time at the zoo immensely, Calum was still drawn to the in-situ conservation efforts and wished to make a real impact mitigating human-wildlife conflict.

Calum joined the CCF Namibia team two years after his first visit and he couldn’t be more excited. Now employed as CCF’s new Livestock Guarding Dog Program Manager, his years of animal husbandry, domestic dog experience and previous knowledge of the program have all proven to be useful skills to be able to drawn upon whilst working with the amazing LGD’s at CCF. Here, he works to promote and grow the program while educating the public on CCF’s mission and cheetah conservation.

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