Endangered cheetahs thrive in Namibia due to conservation project
Many young cheetah cubs have rolled and played under the caring humans at the Cheetah Conservation Fund center in Namibia, Africa. These cubs arrive at the center orphaned, because their mothers have been killed.
“The farmer who shoot this cheetah noticed movement in the her stomach. He cut her stomach open and found three perfectly shaped cubs in the womb, alive. The three cubs were brought to the CCF center in Namibia. This educational center is dedicated to the survival of cheetahs in Namibia. This facility has the world’s largest population of cheetahs and one of the most successful programs for foster care.
Cubs, like the ones seen above in the picture, will never be able to live in the wild and hunt like their mother, because they grew up with humans. “They will be trained as cheetah ambassadors and visitors will learn more about conservation from them.
One person changing the chances for the endangered cheetahs
These spotted cats are increasingly endangered, with their population in Africa dropping from about 100,000 two decades ago to less than 10,000 now, said Dr. Laurie Marker, an American scientist moved to Namibia 30 years ago to study cheetahs. “Namibia has the largest cheetah population in the world some 3,000 and 90 percent of them live on farms, and many farmers see them as a threat to their livestock and shoot them.
Looking for ways to help cheetahs survive, Dr. Marker in 1990 started the Cheetah Conservation Fund on Elandsvreugde farm at the foot of the majestic Waterberg Mountain some 300 kilometers (185 miles) northeast of the capital Windhoek. Intensive international fund raising has helped create a laboratory, a public field research and education center plus a veterinary clinic on the farm, which is open to the public.
The center also works with cheetah conservation experts in countries such as Algeria, Iran, Kenya and Tanzania. “We believe in science-based conservation, that is why research is important,” Marker explained.
The center is creating a genetic database of all the cheetahs that pass through their care, hoping to prevent inbreeding when the animals are released back into the wild by ensuring that close relatives are sent to different regions. Some are collared and tracked by satellite.
The farmer Andronicus Tjituka still regrets he shot the pregnant cheetah two years ago. “I discovered the cheetah I killed had a collar round its neck with the address of the CCF on it. I phoned and informed them about the collar,” he said. It became a turning point for Tjituka, who then learned about conservation and now looks after cheetahs on his land.
For the first time this year, Namibia imposed a moratorium on cheetah trophy hunting to support conservation efforts, although by treaty the country is allowed to export 150 cheetah “trophies” each year usually mounted heads of shot animals.
CCF is teaching Namibian farmers how to live with cheetahs present on their property, which has helped increase Namibia’s population from 2,500 nearly two decades ago to the current 3,000. Key among its programs is training Anatolian shepherd dogs from Turkey called Kangals to help farmers protect their cattle, goats and sheep from cheetah attacks. “We now breed them locally and over 350 dogs are now on farms and that greatly reduces losses to farmers,” said Marker.
Namibia imposed a moratorium on cheetah trophy hunting this year to support conservation efforts, although by treaty the country is allowed to export 150 cheetah “trophies” each year usually mounted heads of shot animals.
To support the Cheetah Conservation Fund efforts to save the cheetah visit Cheetah.or
For more information from Nature’s Crusaders’ library on cheetahs click.
Save the Cheetah plan to WALK/RUN for the CHEETA 2010
Help the cheetahs today Cheetah.org. Thank you.
Excerpts courtesy of Terradaily.com/ThreatenedcheetahsthriveinNamibiaconservationproject
Image courtesy of Users.cs.fiu.edu/~flynnj/cats/cheetahs/CheetahCubs17-3Cubs