FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Patricia Tricorache (cell: 081-458-6006)
CHEETAH CONSERVATION FUND ON THE MEND AND MOVING ON AFTER LIGHTNING FIRE DESTROYS VISITORS CENTRE
[Otjiwarongo, Namibia] –Two days after lighting fire consumed the entire Visitors Centre at the Cheetah Conservation Fund’s (CCF) International Field Research and Education Centre, the feeling was almost “back to normal.” Almost, save for the remnants of the building that served as a classroom for kids, youth and farmers, and a welcoming shady spot for weary visitors. The fire, which started on Wednesday afternoon when lighting hit the roof, was still showing activity yesterday morning. Only the walls are still standing, and intense cleanup work continues today.
CCF’s staff, volunteers, and interns, still exhausted from fighting bravely to contain the fire, were back to work early the next morning to restore normalcy. By mid-morning, they were welcoming visitors to the Centre with a smile and providing them with the unique experience of watching “Conservation in Action” at CCF.
From Canada, where CCF’s Founder and Executive Director, Dr. Laurie Marker, received the news during a lecture tour, the following statement was issued: “This is a stunning loss. CCF is my home, and its staff is like my family, and we are all just reeling from the shock.” The Visitors Centre building not only housed CCF’s gift shop, but also contained the classrooms that are used as part of its Future Farmers of Africa programme, the Cheetah Café and related kitchen, and a staff apartment.
The public show of support has been overwhelming and reassuring. The loss of a storage room full of educational and promotional materials was felt most deeply, as it impacts CCF’s ability to continue educating children, youth and Namibian farmers about the importance of conservation. “We are already asking for quotes in the hope that we can replace our most important tools of instruction as quickly as possible,” said Patricia Tricorache, CCF’s Assistant Director for International Programmes. CCF is a not-for-gain association relying almost entirely on donations.
Help is welcome in the way of visitors to the Centre, located 44 km east of Otjiwarongo, at the foot of the magnificent Waterberg Plateau, or donations. Please visit www.cheetah.org for online donations, or email firstname.lastname@example.org for banking information. Corporations wishing to sponsor reprinting of educational and informational materials can also contact the above email address.
- Flames engulf the Cheetah Conservation Fund’s Visitor Centre, burned by Lightning Wednesday afternoon.
- A well-known face around the world, the cheetah mural that welcomes thousands of visitors, students and livestock farmers every year to the Cheetah Conservation Fund’s International Field Research and Education Centre.
- Fire continued to burn through the night, as surrounding vegetation still alive seems to contain some of the blaze.
- The Cheetah Conservation Fund’s educational and informational materials burn through the night in what used to be the storage area inside the Vistors Centre.
- Cheetah Conservation Fund’s staff and volunteers re-located and restored functionality of the Gift Shop in only a few hours.
- The new Cheetah Conservation Fund’s Gift Shop welcomes visitors with African crafts and cold beverages.
- Two days after a fire consumed the Cheetah Conservation Fund’s Visitors Centre, staff have worked tirelessly to remove nearly all debris around the building.
About Cheetah Conservation Fund (CCF):
The Cheetah Conservation Fund (CCF) is a Namibian non-profit trust dedicated to the long-term survival of the cheetah and its ecosystems.
Since 1990, the organisation has developed education and conservation programmes based on its bio-medical cheetah research studies, published over 60 scientific research papers and has presented educational programmes to more than 300,000 outreach school learners, donated over 400 livestock guarding dogs to commercial and communal farmers as part of the CCF innovative non-lethal livestock management programme, has trained over 300 conservation biologists from 15 cheetah-range countries, and has established a cheetah genome resource bank of cheetah sperm, tissue and blood samples.
Research into cheetah biology and ecology has greatly increased our understanding of the fastest land animal and education programmes for schools and the farming community help change public attitudes to allow predator and humans to co-exist. However, despite the many successes of CCF programmes, the cheetah is still Africa’s most endangered big cat with ~10,000 cheetahs remaining.
For more information:
Cheetah Conservation Fund
PO Box 1755, Otjiwarongo – Namibia
Tel: (067) 306225
Fax: (067) 306247