Livestock Guarding Dogs

Why is the Snake Aversion Training Programme important for Livestock Guarding Dogs?

  • by  5 July 2024
Why is the Snake Aversion Training Programme important for Livestock Guarding Dogs?

Every year in Namibia, Anatolian Shepherds and mixed-breed dogs play a vital role in protecting livestock for local farmers. These dogs, introduced to farms as puppies, grow to become fierce defenders against predators like cheetahs. Their presence not only reduces livestock losses by over 90% but also significantly decreases human-wildlife conflict, thereby safeguarding cheetahs from retaliation by farmers.

Despite their effectiveness against large predators, these dogs face a lesser-known threat: venomous snakes. Calum O’Flaherty, our Livestock Guardian Dog Manager at the Cheetah Conservation Fund (CCF) in Namibia, tragically lost his dog to a snakebite. In the past 25 years, more than 84 dogs have died from snakebites, with 52 of those deaths occurring in the last 5 years alone.


How CCF is managing this issue?


To address this issue, CCF has launched the Snake Aversion Training programme. This initiative is designed to prepare LGDs to identify and avoid encounters with venomous snakes. Through controlled exposure to snake cues, these dogs learn to recognise potential dangers in the wild and steer clear of them.


Namibia is home to various venomous species, including the Puff Adder, Boomslang, and Cape Cobra. Understanding the behaviour and habitats of these snakes is crucial for effective training. This knowledge forms the basis of our efforts to protect these invaluable canine guardians.

How can you support the Snake Aversion Training Programme for Livestock Guarding Dogs?


Currently, a new litter of puppies urgently needs this life-saving training before they start their duties as LGDs. We are seeking £7,250 to fund the next phase of Snake Aversion Training and to procure anti-venom medicine for emergencies. Your contribution, no matter the size, will directly impact the safety and effectiveness of these dogs in their mission to protect both livestock and endangered species like cheetahs.

Join us in supporting these brave dogs and ensuring they can continue their vital role in conserving Namibia’s wildlife and maintaining harmony between farmers and predators. Make your donation here

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