Adreena’s journey at CCF: Navigating human-wildlife conflict

  • by Zila Oliveira 14 April 2024
Adreena’s journey at CCF: Navigating human-wildlife conflict
Adreena's journey at CCF: Navigating human-wildlife conflict

In the realm of conservation, not every story carries a happy ending. The path to preserving our planet’s biodiversity is often fraught with challenges, setbacks, and heartaches. However, within each trial lies an opportunity—a chance to foster open dialogue, deepen understanding, and strengthen the bonds between all parties involved. Such is the essence of Adreena’s journey, a former intern at the Cheetah Conservation Fund (CCF), whose experience sheds light on the complexities of human-wildlife conflict and the ongoing efforts to mitigate its impact.

Adreena’s story begins in January 2024 when she embarked on a two-month internship at CCF, fuelled by a passion for environmental and wildlife management. Armed with a desire to make a difference, she delved into the intricate web of coexistence, conservation, and conflict resolution in Namibia’s harsh landscapes. Little did she know that her time at CCF would be marked by a poignant encounter that would shape her understanding of conservation forever.

During her internship, Adreena witnessed first-hand the tireless dedication of the CCF team as they cared for rescued cheetah cubs and navigated the delicate balance between humans and wildlife. However, it was a visit to a local farm that would leave an indelible mark on her heart. There, amidst the rugged terrain of Eastern Namibia, she stumbled upon the lifeless body of a cheetah cub, a tragic victim of human-wildlife conflict.

The cub’s fate, as Adreena would later discover, was intertwined with the age-old struggle between farmers and predators. Caught in a deadly encounter with farm dogs while seeking shelter within the confines of a livestock kraal, the cub’s untimely demise served as a sobering reminder of the complex dynamics at play in the conservation landscape. Yet, amidst the sorrow and anger that gripped her, Adreena found a glimmer of hope—a chance to bridge the divide between conflicting interests and forge a path towards mutual understanding.

Engaging in dialogue with the farmers, Adreena recognised their need to protect their livelihoods, even as she mourned the loss of precious wildlife. It was a pivotal moment of empathy—recognising that human and animal lives equally deserve compassion and respect. Determined to turn tragedy into opportunity, Adreena and the CCF team embarked on a journey of collaboration, installing camera traps to monitor wildlife activity and establishing crucial lines of communication with the farming community.

As tissue samples from the fallen cub made their way to the genetics department at CCF for analysis, Adreena departed from the farm with a heavy heart but a renewed sense of purpose. Through her experience, she had come to understand that true conservation is not merely about protecting species—it’s about nurturing relationships, fostering dialogue, and building bridges across divides.

Adreena’s journey serves as a poignant reminder of the importance of community engagement in conservation efforts. Though the cheetah cub’s life was tragically cut short, its legacy lives on through the research and dialogue it has inspired. In the face of adversity, Adreena’s story reminds us that every setback is an opportunity to reaffirm our commitment to the preservation of our planet’s precious biodiversity.

As we continue to navigate the complexities of human-wildlife conflict, let us heed the lessons of Adreena’s journey—a journey marked by resilience, empathy, and unwavering dedication to the cause of conservation. In the end, it is through understanding, cooperation, and collective action that we will chart a course towards a more sustainable future for all.

Adreena’s experience is a sad one, but shows the continued importance of community engagement in conservation. Though the life of this cheetah cub was cut tragically short, it will still contribute to the conservation of its species, through the research conducted at CCF. Click here to learn how our work is vital to avoid this difficult and sad scenario involving cheetahs.

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