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CCF FARMER OF THE YEAR

ONE OF THE HIGHLIGHTS OF CCF’S YEAR is our annual gala held in Windhoek, the capital of Namibia. This year’s guest speaker was Dr. Netty Purchase of Zimbabwe, the coordinator for regional cheetah conservation strategy for both the Zoological Society of London and the Wildlife Conservation Society. Netty’s job is to link research with conservation management, so that policy decisions in the region are founded on and informed by relevant research findings. Research and conservation efforts at CCF are part of this regional network to save the cheetah.   At the gala, we give awards for Farmer of the Year, Conservationist of the Year, Business of the Year and Teacher of the Year.

Because the fate of the cheetah is in farmers’ hands, it is gratifying to recognise those who have grasped what we are trying to achieve in getting farmers to learn to live with, and even benefit from, cheetahs and other predators being on their land.

This year’s Farmer of the Year is Isak #Ouseb. Since he became chairman of the Omkhaibasen Farmers’ Cooperative, it has been named the “Best Improved Cooperative in Namibia” out of 64 operations. He encourages and teaches other farmers in the area, all the while increasing awareness of the benefits of working cooperatively.

Recently, Isak bought a number of CCF’s female goats and gave them to farmers in his community. Through the gift of these animals he will be able to encourage the farmers to think cooperatively in a broader sense and to appreciate the role organisations such as CCF can play in their success. As a result, both farmers and wild cheetahs benefit.

Isak also has two of our livestock guarding dogs. He was given the first dog after suffering livestock losses from cheetahs. This dog has received excellent care by Isak. So when Fabiana, a “mongretolian” (one-quarter mongrel, three-quarters Anatolian) bred by CCF, was taken from her owner because she was being neglected, we immediately thought of Isak for her new home. In keeping with good livestock practices, the cooperative keeps its male sheep and goats separate from the female herd until it is time for mating quality males with females (so the kids and lambs benefit from group maternal protectiveness). Thus, they required one guarding dog for their male herd and one for their female herd. Now both dogs are working with the cooperative’s flocks and are flourishing under Isak’s care and attention. And they are serving as excellent models for the farmers with whom Isak shares his knowledge and experiences.

 

INDIA TO REINTRODUCE CHEETAHS

LAURIE RECENTY VISITED INDIA, where she met with forestry department officials to work out a strategy to reintroduce the cheetah to the subcontinent. The cheetah disappeared from India in the 1940s due to overhunting and habitat loss. The Palpur-Kuno Wildlife Sanctuary, a 344,686 square kilometre (133,084 square mile) reserve in central India, has been chosen for the reintroduction. The sanctuary is home to many species, including wolves, leopards and nilgai, Asia’s largest antelope. Pending approval by the Namibian government, cheetahs will be translocated from captive populations in Namibia. CCF has devised a proven protocol for rewilding captive cheetahs that allows the animals to perfect their hunting skills in a safe environment before being released. To date, CCF has successfully rewilded nine formerly captive cheetahs.

 

DONOR PROFILE

THE GIFT OF A FUTURE

IN 2009, JOHN AND AUDREY WILSON of Sandy Springs, Ga., hosted a reception to kick off Laurie’s tour in the Atlanta area. Laurie spoke to more than 120 guests about the need for awareness of the endangered species’ plight and to solicit support.

In 2010, John (pictured at right with Chewbaaka) travelled to Namibia with his daughter, Julianne, to observe Laurie in action. He was impressed with the alternatives to lethal predator control that Laurie had adopted and adapted for southern Africa, such as the use of livestock guarding dogs.

Everywhere John looked he also saw opportunities to improve CCF’s operations if only more revenue was available. But he also saw that a short-term influx of funds wasn’t what CCF needed: “If cheetahs are going to be protected, it’s a long-term project. If that project is to succeed, then funds are a necessity for the future, not solely for day-to-day operations.”

Accordingly, John and Audrey worked with their legal counsel and financial advisor to create a charitable remainder trust, with 10% of any remaining funds designated for CCF. They notified the CCF office in Alexandria, Va., about their decision so that we would have a record of the gift.

As a result of the vision and financial generosity of John and Audrey Wilson, they became members of the Chewbaaka Legacy Gift Society.  For more information, see Laurie’s Field Note below.

 

 

TRACKING COLLAR YIELDS SURPRISING FIND

 

CCF IS HOME TO APPROXIMATELY 50 CHEETAHS THAT, FOR ONE REASON OR ANOTHER, cannot survive in the wild. But with almost 100.000 acres, much of which is unfenced, CCF also is occasionally and briefly home to free-roaming cheetahs. One male that we call Hifi (after Namibia’s president) seems to have made CCF his permanent home. He is often spotted very near the Visitors’ Centre and the staff dining room. We believe that, in addition to the abundant prey on CCF land, Hifi is attracted to all the captive female cheetahs. But, because it is illegal in Namibia to breed captive cheetahs, we have taken every precaution to ensure that he can’t get to them. Because he is in such close proximity to people, we collared Hifi to keep track of him.

   In February we picked up a wild female and her two nearly grown cubs from a farm. The female needed dental work before she could be released, but once she recovered we placed a satellite collar on her and released her and the cubs on unfenced CCF property. We programmed her collar to fall off after five months. In July, when the collar hadn’t moved for several days, we went to pick it up. We tracked the collar to where it had dropped off and were surprised to spot the female. And while searching for the collar, we made a wonderful discovery: at least three very young cubs carefully hidden in the thick bush. Not wanting to unsettle the mother, we took some quick photographs of the cubs and left.  We even forgot to retrieve the collar!

Hoping that Hifi was the father, we plotted his and Wild Mum’s collar readings from February until July on a map of CCF land. The inset above should be self-explanatory, but we do hope to find scat from the babies so that we can run the necessary tests in CCF’s genetics lab to definitively determine their father.

CCF hopes to add two more detection dogs, including one that can identify duplicate scat samples. Soon the dogs will be able to determine whether cheetahs remain in an area, and if so in what numbers, so that critical decisions on cheetah conservation can be made based on hard data, not educated guesses.

 

FIELD NOTE

THANK YOU

SINCE CHEWBAAKA’S DEATH IN APRIL FROM INJURIES SUFFERED DURING A TUSSLE WITH A KUDU, I have tried to thank everyone who sent notes of condolence. In case I’ve missed anyone, let me take this opportunity to again say thank you. Thank you for caring, thank you for your words, thank you for your donations to the Chewbaaka Memorial Challenge. The outpouring from our supporters around the world was truly inspiring and touching.

To honour my wonderful friend and companion of almost 16 years, CCF has created the Chewbaaka Society, a planned giving program for those who would like to support CCF after they’re gone, much as Chewbaaka is doing now. For more information on our planned giving program, contact Shannon Sharp at (866) 909-3399, ext. 102 in the US, or via email at Shannon@cheetah.org.

 

MEET LAURIE DURING HER FALL TOUR IN THE US

Laurie’s 2011 fall visit to the United States will last from 9 September to 21 October. Below are a few of the places she plans to visit in her tour (as of press time):

  • Northern California
  • Southern California
  • New York, New York 
  • Washington, DC
  • Houston, Texas
  • Chicago, Illinois
  • Portland, Oregon
  • Atlanta, Georgia

   Public events include Big.Cat.Big.Party in Portland, 9 October; and galas to benefit CCF in Southern California on 8 October, Chicago on 15 October and Washington, DC, on 20 October; and the Wildlife Conservation Network (WCN) Expo in San Francisco on 1 October.* For information on specific events, check out Laurie’s tour calendar atwww.cheetah.org.

Purchase your tickets for the Southern California, Portland, Chicago and DC events atwww.cheetah.org/FallEvents2011.

   Laurie is honoured to have been named a Rainer Arnhold Fellow. Rainer Arnhold Fellows are social entrepreneurs with promising solutions to the big problems in health, poverty, and conservation in developing countries. The fellowship programme helps participants design their work for maximum impact through a design process focused on significantly scaling up the programme. Fellows are recruited through a network of leaders, thinkers, and doers in the social and private sectors. As part of the two-year fellowship, Laurie will spend a week in September working on design for maximum impact and scalability. The course will offer Laurie the rare opportunity to focus completely on CCF plans and a systematic way to apply them.

(*) The printed version of this newsletter contained an error in our event dates. Please accept our apologies.

 

FILLING SOME BIG TRACKS

PEOPLE OFTEN ASK WHO WILL REPLACE CHEWBAAKA. NO CHEETAH COULD EVER REPLACE MR. C, but his passing has left a hole in our education department that we must fill. The Okakarara (or OK) Cubs, reported on in various occasions, have just celebrated their first birthday. Tiger Lily, Senay, Peter and Kaijay are sleek bundles of playfulness and seemingly boundless energy.

   To prepare them for their future duties, the cubs were recently taken on a daily “Cub Walk.” Wearing light collars and leashes, the cubs were escorted by CCF staff to the Visitors’ Centre and its environs, to get them acquainted with walking on a leash, being near strangers, and the other oddities that come with being a cheetah ambassador.

Recently, the cubs began meeting CCF visitors. The cubs settle themselves into comfortable positions outside the Visitors’ Centre while Laurie or the handlers introduce them, answer questions and talk about aspects of cheetah behaviour and survival in the wild.

The cubs also have recently started to participate in cheetah runs. They are showing great potential but have a way to go before they match the impressive performances of another group of siblings: the Stars, who were cut out of their dead mother’s womb by the farmer who shot her. Now three years old, Phoenix, Quasar and Soraya regularly wow visitors with their powerful runs and remain firm favourites with CCF staff. It is a mixed blessing that we have so many options for filling Chewbaaka’s tracks.

 

THE CHEETAH’S NEWEST RANGE COUNTRY

CCF’S INTERNATIONAL COURSES are always a source of inspiration and pride for both the participants and for the CCF staff who work with them. In the six two- and four-week international training courses we’ve held over the past three years, we have trained more than 200 conservation scientists and wildlife managers from 16 current and former cheetah range countries. One of the countries that training has helped is the new nation of South Sudan. In the last three years, five conservation scientists and wildlife managers from southern Sudan have participated in CCF’s international courses.

They impressed other participants and staff alike with their determination not only to put aside religious and political differences during the course but also to make wildlife conservation central to their country’s development programme. As the first country to put the conservation of natural resources in its constitution, Namibia provides an excellent example of a young nation that has chosen to make conservation a significant anchor point of its strategy for the future. We hope that South Sudan will learn much from Namibia’s experience.

South Sudan is home to the second largest animal migration after that in the Serengeti. And while we know that South Sudan has cheetahs, little is known about the size or locations of the populations because of the wars that raged for decades in Sudan.

Following the most recent course, one of the participants from Sudan sent Laurie the following message:

“Thanks for your congratulatory message and best wishes to the South Sudanese. Yes, we are free at last, but we still have a lot of challenges of building a nation from nothing. It may not be a big problem if we are committed. Hopefully our new nation will support cheetah conservation.”

It is certainly exciting to watch a new nation find its place in the world, and we at CCF look forward to working with the dedicated South Sudanese who attended our courses to learn more about the cheetahs in South Sudan.

The international courses were made possible by a three-year grant from the Howard G. Buffett Foundation. Only two of a total of 12 courses remain to be conducted, but we have a long list of people who are interested in participating. We are currently pursuing funding to extend the courses at least one more year.

 

CCF often takes in orphaned or injured cheetahs that are unable to go back into the wild. Since many of these cheetahs remain at CCF for years, we name each so it is easier to refer to them than “cheetah number 1619”. Recently a new cheetah came to CCF, and we need your help to name her!All you need is your love of cheetahs, your creativity and a minimum donation of $10, which will go toward the care of CCF’s captive cheetahs. Submit your idea, along with a short essay (100 words maximum) explaining your suggestion. For details and submission form, click below.

Dub the Cub now!!!

The winning submission will receive a full-year cheetah sponsorship!
Campaign ends on 15 October.
Winner will be announced on or before 31 October.
 

Thanks to Lucci Liyeung for allowoing us the use of her drawing, and to Lena Boone for submitting this catchy name for our cheetah-naming campaign.

 

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We intend to send this e-letter only to those in our database who have expressed an interest in our organisation. To update your profile or to be removed instantly from this list or update your account information, please click on the link at the bottom of this e-mail or e-mail us at info@cheetah.org, and please accept our apologies for any inconvenience.

Cheetah Conservation Fund
PO Box 1755 – Otjiwarongo – Namibia
The Cheetah Conservation Fund is a “not for gain association”
based in Namibia, Southern Africa
Click here for contact information and charitable status on CCF groups and affiliates around the world.

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