Back in June, a group from the Klein Karas Community in southern Namibia spent three days with us here at the Cheetah Conservation Fund (CCF) to learn about integrated livestock management and alternative livelihoods. The Klein Karas Community is located in the Greater Fish River Canyon Landscape and is the only rural community in this area. Whilst at CCF, the group learned how to identify predators, how to manage their livestock to reduce conflict, and also about our organic garden and goat milk production.
Their visit was funded by The Namibia Protected Landscape Conservation Areas Initiative (NAM-PLACE), which is a five year project established by The Ministry of Environment and Tourism (MET), with co-financing from the Global Environment Facility (GEF) and with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) as the Implementing Agency.
The week following their training visit my colleagues, Tyapa and Chavoux, made the long drive south to deliver a Livestock Guarding Dog puppy and two milk goat bucks to further benefit their project. And now it was time for the follow up visit to check everything was going well and the animals were fit and healthy.
At 5 am Tyapa and I pulled out of the gates of CCF to start our journey. It’s close to 1000 km each way so this early start was indeed necessary. I have to say the stop for coffee in Otjiwarongo was very welcome indeed. By taking it in turns to drive we covered the distance quite easily but we did arrive after dark. A hot shower, some food and a good night’s sleep were in order before our visit to the community the next day.
We met with Josef Swartbooi who looks after the livestock guarding dog puppy and who is also one of the community leaders. He said they were very happy with the dogs’ progress and felt he was a great addition to the herd. The puppy was clearly very well looked after and had bonded extremely well with the goats he was growing to protect. Everywhere they went, he followed, with his tail in the air and with a jaunty little step. I think he will grow to be a fine guarding dog for the community goat herds.
We also got a chance to catch up with the breeding dairy goat bucks who have definitely grown in the past few weeks. They were happy to come over for a stroke and looked in fine condition. They have not yet been used to breed with the females but this should happen in the next month or so.
Overall, we had a great visit. This whole area is beautiful and so very different to the north of Namibia. I look forward to our next follow up visit in October when we hope to meet with the elders and more members of the community to work out how we can further assist them with their development plans.