Have you heard about our livestock guarding dog programme (LGD)? If not, here’s a very quick summary! When cheetahs attack livestock, farmers often retaliate by killing the cheetah. Losing just one animal for a farmer can be catastrophic. We wanted to prevent the killing of cheetahs and help farmers protect their livestock, so 20 years ago we started our LGD programme, which places big dogs with loud barks with local farmers. Cheetahs and other predators are scared of the dogs so do not approach the livestock, and this programme is so successful that it has reduced human-wildlife conflict by up to 90% in areas where they have been placed. Impressive, huh?
As part of this programme, we have females at our breeding centre in Namibia whose job it is to provide the next generation of LGDs. We aimed to place 60 puppies with farmers over the next 12 months, but with 36 puppies currently at our centre in Namibia, we might have actually underestimated our targets! There are currently 137 working dogs across Namibia and with the addition of these new puppies, our human-wildlife conflict prevention work will be the most impactful that it has ever been before.
We have also started breeding mixed breed dogs as they are smaller and thus cheaper to feed, and might be more advantageous in the more communal farming areas, so we are working with farmers to see if we can get them working as well as our usual Anatolian dogs. One such breeding dog is Katira, who gave birth to 8 puppies on the evening of the 24th of November – 5 males and 3 females).
They are just over 6 weeks old now and are all doing well and putting on weight each day – at this age they’ve just had their first vaccinations and will soon be participating in their puppy aptitude tests! Eveline, Calum and our LGD interns are being kept busy by them and the other 18 puppies we have onsite!
We are also working with farmers to take in unwanted litters they might have on their farms, usually due to not being able to afford to spay and neuter the adults. We are offering to do this free of charge (to help with a spay and neuter campaign) if they donate the puppies so that we can raise them to be working dogs and assist us in our long waiting list for dogs (currently around 2 years!).
If you’d like to support this part of our work, please consider giving a gift to CCF UK.
Katira’s sister Ana had puppies recently too – adding even more puppies to our cumulative total! Ana’s puppies came on the afternoon of the 13th November, and her litter contained 9 puppies -3 males and 6 females. All 9 puppies have been doing amazing, and are walking around and causing trouble! They’re are all doing well and putting on weight each day – they’ve just had their first deworming, as well as had their first introduction to goats – three goats now stay with them overnight.
9 February 2023February’s wildlife photographer of the month – Kunal D Shah
18 November 2022Indian cheetah reintroduction, two months on.