FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Dr. Laurie Marker (ph: 067- 306225, cell: 081-1247887) or Dr. Bruce Brewer (cell: 081-1247799)
WATERBERG MAGIC SURROUNDED THE CHEETAH CONSERVATION FUND’S 15th ANNUAL GALA AND AWARDS
[Otjiwarongo, Namibia] – For the 15th consecutive year, the Cheetah Conservation Fund hosted its annual fundraising gala and dinner celebrating the cheetah’s speed and elegance. This annual event, which is now much-anticipated by Namibian conservation circles, was held at the Windhoek Country Club on 12 July. This year’s theme, Share the Waterberg Magic, celebrated the magnificent landmark that is the jewel of the Greater Waterberg Landscape, and highlighted CCF’s long-term efforts to ensure the survival of the wild cheetah. Award-winning Namibian Afro-Jazz musician Erna Chimu & Band entertained the crowd with her lively music, as attendees enjoyed a candlelit dinner and the annual Cheetah Conservation Awards Ceremony. Approximately 290 people attended the event, including individuals from the business, conservation, agriculture and government sectors in Namibia and internationally.
Brian Badger, Operations Manager of CCF and a talented speaker, was the evening’s Master of Ceremonies. Mr. Valli Moosa, Chairman of the World Wildlife Fund South Africa and globally recognised for his expertise in sustainable development and environment was the Guest Speaker for the evening. In his eloquent speech, Mr. Moosa spoke of how humans have changed the planet, and the need to for critical actions to solve issues like hunger or extinction. “We don’t want to be the generation accused of the irresponsible end of the roar of the lion or the song of the nightingale, “said Moosa. “Let’s not be the generation that turns the lights off.”
CCF Founder and Executive Director, Dr. Laurie Marker emphasised the need to conserve Namibia’s treasures, and explained the importance of the Greater Waterberg Landscape initiative, which inspired this year’s Gala theme, Share the Waterberg Magic. Working with the Namibian Protected Landscape Conservation Areas Initiative (NAM-PLACE) –a project under the Namibian Ministry of Environment and Tourism, the United Nations Development Program and the Global Environment Facility, CCF aims to foster an economic system where humans can live and persevere within the natural scope of a healthy, intact and bio-diverse landscape.
Dr. Marker presented three 2013 Cheetah Conservation Awards (see biographies below for of all award recipients), recognising conservationists and farmers who help conserve the cheetah and the Namibian environment.
US Ambassador Wanda Nesbitt and Mr. Jim Stejskal were honoured as the 2013 Cheetah Conservationists of the Year. The Ambassador and her husband Jim have been a valuable resource in assisting CCF with the care of one of CCF’s most precious Livestock Guarding Dogs, Cappuccino, who was birthed by artificial insemination and holds precious bloodlines. FNB Namibia was honoured as the 2013 Cheetah Conservation Business of the Year for their visionary approach to doing business in the 21st Century by supporting projects that enhance the lives and the environment of the communities of which they are a part of.
Andreas Hishiko, a commercial cattle, sheep and goat farmer, received the 2013 Cheetah Conservation Farmer of the Year Award. Andreas has been a friend of CCF’s since 1999, and exemplifies how to successfully prevent livestock losses to predators by giving CCF’s Livestock Guarding Dogs the proper care and attention. Marker also recognised two of her key staff members: Matti Nghikembua, Senior Ecologist, and Dr. Bruce Brewer, General Manager of CCF and CCF Bush Pty Ltd, for their 15 years of service on behalf of the wild cheetah.
The Hon. Alpheus !Naruseb, Minister of Lands and Resettlement, delivered the keynote speech representing H.E. President Hifikepunye Pohamba.
The silent auction once again was a huge success, with over 120 items donated by local and international businesses, included artwork, jewellery, Namibian craftwork and recreational ‘get-aways’ at exclusive Namibian and international tourist venues, including stays at CCF’s exclusive Babson Guest house.
The wide range of auction items brought in contributions for CCF’s research, conservation and education programmes, all of which are supported through donations (more information on CCF’s conservation, education and research programmes is available at www.cheetah.org).
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, 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
2013 Cheetah Conservation Awards – Bios
2013 Cheetah Conservationist of the Year: Ambassador Wanda Nesbitt and Mr. James Stejskal
Wanda Nesbitt and Jim Stejskal came to Namibia in November 2010 after working in a number of “interesting,” but difficult African postings. An assignment to Namibia offered a chance to live and work in a peaceful country that also has a fascinating history, and promised a chance to get involved with both the people and the environment.
Both Wanda and Jim are interested in wildlife and environmental conservation. They have visited and supported Jane Goodall’s work with chimpanzees at Gombe in western Tanzania, gorilla programmes in Rwanda, and the Tai Forest Chimps in Cote d’Ivoire. Their admiration and respect for wildlife (and the fact that Laurie Marker is an American) brought them into contact with CCF and became interested in CCF’s Livestock Guarding Dog (LGD) programme. They met “Cappuccino,” aka “Cheena,” during a visit to the dog kraals, and Laurie explained how this female Anatolian shepherd had not adapted well to farm life due to recurring and severe allergic reactions. Laurie then asked – perhaps only half seriously – if they would like to adopt this unique dog. Cheena was one of the puppies from the first litter of Anatolian shepherd dogs conceived through artificial insemination (AI) in Namibia and has a precious bloodline.
Wanda and Jim had lost big loveable mutt, “Samson” several years before and had only recently discussed getting a new companion. In only a few minutes “Cappuccino” had a new home in Windhoek. Because she was a girl, they shortened her name to ‘Cheena’ and that is what she now responds to, although she still remembers the name Cappuccino.
Cheena had eight puppies this year, which eventually found new homes with farmers who’ve come to appreciate the value of CCF’s LGD programme. One puppy from the litter, “Fluffy,” is in the United States after adopting the Chief Vet at the National Zoo in Washington to be her mom.
Cheena will also soon be going to the United States to live with Wanda and Jim in their home in Virginia (and to reunite with Fluffy). And although they won’t be living in Africa anymore, they will be doing all they can to support CCF and other worthwhile programmes to help animals and humans to live together.
2013 Cheetah Conservation Farmer of the Year: Andreas Hishiko
With a Higher Education Diploma, Andreas Hishiko worked as a teacher in primary and secondary schools, teaching math, biology and agriculture amongst other subjects. During his years as a teacher he farmed in communal areas until he became ill. Problems with his voice meant he was no longer able to teach and so he accepted a severance package from the Ministry of Education. With this money plus an additional loan from Agribank, Andreas purchased a farm near Outjo in 2000. Here he now works as a full-time, commercial farmer farming cattle, goats and sheep.
Andreas first came into contact with CCF when he attended an Integrated Predator and Wildlife course in 1999 where he learned about the livestock guarding dog programme. As he had problems with predators such as jackals, hyenas and leopards, he decided a CCF Livestock Guarding Dog was the way forward, and so began his relationship with us.
Livestock guarding dogs proved very successful for Andreas, who confirms that since having the dogs he has had very few livestock losses which is down to the protection the dogs provide. His first dog ‘Sheperd’ worked overtime as she protected his herd night and day but was sadly killed by a troop of baboons. During 2008 Andreas took on one of our re-homed dogs who hadn’t been well cared for by a previous owner. This dog worked very hard at the farm rewarding the care he received continuing into old age. Last year, knowing any dog given to Andreas would be well received, we placed Beauty, a nine-year-old female who had definitely had a tough life! Despite injuries and illness, she has continued to protect her herd, due in no small part to the care and attention she has received. Andreas loves his working dogs and, due to their hard work, he feeds them well and ensures they receive the care they need as he knows they deserve it.
Andreas Hishiko has been involved with CCF for many years and his support of our dog programme makes him a most worthy recipient of the 2013 Cheetah Conservation Farmer of the Year Award.
2013 Cheetah Conservation Business of the Year: FNB Namibia
Over the years, First National Bank has shown great support of Cheetah Conservation Fund’s activities. FNB has made possible the printing of educational materials such as the third edition of CCF’s Teachers’ Resource Guide, “Cheetah: A Predator’s Role in the Eco-system.” This book is an indispensable tool in our efforts to empower teachers to teach Namibian children the importance of maintaining healthy eco-systems. By supporting conservation education, FNB is investing in the future of Namibia and ensuring that tomorrow’s stewards of the earth, our children, develop an environmental consciousness.
FNB’s passion for excellence goes beyond business, by demonstrating that to create a successful and sustainable business requires more than financial results. FNB understands that maintaining nature’s delicate balance benefits everyone, as was so appropriately expressed in FNB’s foreword within CCF’s Teachers’ Resource Guide, “At FNB, we value the importance of our environment which is interlinked with tourism and conservation. If no conservation happens and natural habitats are destroyed or wildlife is decimated, there would be nothing in Namibia for tourists to come and enjoy anymore. This could mean the loss of income for many operators in the tourism industry, which will lead to the loss of many jobs and the loss of a big tax base for Government.”
2013 Guest Speaker: Mr. Valli Moosa
Valli Moosa was born in Johannesburg in 1957. He completed a B.Sc. degree in 1979 with majors in Mathematics and Physics.
Valli was an active participant in the South African freedom struggle. He was detained without trial on numerous occasions for his opposition to Apartheid. He served as a member of the National Executive Committee of the African National Congress. He served on President Mandela’s team which negotiated the peaceful transition from Apartheid to democracy in 1994. Valli played a central role in drafting the new South African Constitution.
He served the first democratically elected government as Minister for Constitutional Development in President Mandela’s cabinet from 1994 to 1999, and, as Minister for the Environment from 1999 to 2004. He hosted the World Summit on Sustainable Development in 2002 and served as Chairman of the United Nations Commission on Sustainable Development in 2003.
In 2004 Valli retired from government to join the private sector. He is a principal of the Lereko Metier Capital Growth Fund Lereko Metier Sustainable Capital. He serves on the boards of Lereko Investments, Sun International, Anglo Platinum, Sanlam and Imperial Holdings. He previously served as Chairman of Eskom.
Valli served as the President of the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) from 2004 to 2008. He served as a member of the Global Leadership for Climate Action under the Chairmanship of President Ricardo Lagos of Chile until 2009. He served as a member of the CCICED (China Council of International Cooperation on Environment and Development) and is Chairman of WWF (South Africa).