During my recent visit to Namibia (along with Kathleen, Alison, and Roy pictured above) we spent a week at the Cheetah Conservation Fund (CCF). We went there to understand the impact CCF is making in wildlife conservation and community education. We were very fortunate to have CCF’s Director of Conservation and Outreach Brian Badger from the US, visiting Namibia at the same time. We had a dedicated chaperon that took us to see amazing places in the CCF property and made it possible to meet with many people working at CCF.
We arrived at CCF after about 30 hours of travels and we felt quite exhausted but it all disappeared as soon as we woke up looking at the infinite landscape and a blue sky. We stayed at the Cheetah View Lodges which are fantastic – immerse in the landscape and still a lot of comfort. Kathleen and myself were particularly lucky because our house had a rooftop where we spent a few hours enjoying the sunset and where Kathleen was able to do yoga under the rising sun.
Every day was filled with interesting activities: a cheetah run with the lure in their enclosure, feeding the resident cheetahs, visiting the genetic lab and understanding how important it is to have this facility on site for research and of course, hanging out with the Anatolian dogs and goats.
But mostly it was fascinating to meet the people working at CCF, from Bianca managing the tourist office to Raul, chef and cheese maker, to Ignatius totally dedicated to the education of the local community – just to mention a few, and see their dedication to CCF, their pride in their country and in what CCF is doing. We particularly enjoyed sharing some time with Bruce Brewer, CCF’s General Manager and Head of BUSHBLOK® Project, and Dr. Laurie Marker, CCF’s Founder and her Assistant Teresia (Tess) Robitschko. We were happy to celebrate Bruce’s birthday party dinner in the middle of CCF’s field in the reserve at sunset. What an experience! It was something I will remember for a very long time.
We were also lucky to be there during the week where SteamBioAfrica was testing the new machinery. Bruce gave us a tour of the BUSHBLOK® facility and we saw the new machine ready for testing. Namibia could be a pioneer in renewable energy and it is impressive that CCF will be one of the partners to convey the message.
After a few days, we really felt at home and I am sure we could have stayed longer. Sometimes, of course, we are fascinated by the beauty of this incredible animal that is the cheetah, but it is important to understand all the work CCF is doing behind the scenes to provide a holistic approach to conservation so that cheetahs and humans could coexist. Going to CCF, seeing what they are doing every day, can change each of us. It can make us grasp the urgency and the depth of CCF work and definitively make us feel more connected and involved in helping the cause.
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