Guardatelo lo stesso al minuto 25 circa, e comunque si capisce di ciò’ che si parla….!
Nel 2013, solo diecimila ghepardi circa restano allo stato brado, e il ghepardo deve affrontare la sua corsa contro l’estinzione. Gli studi piu’ recenti sottolineano che tra vent’anni, il ghepardo come specie potrebbe essere scomparso dalla faccia della Terra.
Pur dinnanzi a tale prospettiva oscura, il Cheetah Conservation Fund nutre ancora il proprio sogno: un mondo in cui i ghepardi vivono e prosperano in coesistenza con umani e ambiente. I ghepardi rappresentano una sfida notevole in termini di conservazione, poiché non prosperano in terreni coltivati; essi hanno bisogno di ampi areali, dove possono cacciare senza dover competere con leoni e iene, per ottenere le loro prede. Il novanta percento dei ghepardi allo stato brado non vivono in aree protette, bensi’ parallelamente alle popolazioni umane.
Per questo motivo, la missione del CCF di salvare i ghepardi in natura include misure relative al conflitto tra umani e animali selvatici, l’eliminazione della povertà, il ripristino dell’habitat, e la conservazione di ampi territori. Salvare i ghepardi significa in realtà salvare il mondo, e cambiare la faccia dell’Africa.
L’anno scorso ci siamo concentrati molto sul nostro progetto Bushblok . La Namibia subisce l’invasione del bush, una forma di desertificazione che risulta dalla crescita abnorme di una acacia indigena invasiva. Il ghepardo caccia compiendo balzi e scatti in velocità, e la presenza di cespugli invasivi impedisce la caccia e causa ferite, soprattutto agli occhi.
L’invasione del bush danneggia anche l’economia della Namibia. Questa specie invasiva ricopre ormai 120 milioni di acri in Namibia, riducendo cosi’ i terreni da pascolo per il bestiame e gli animali selvatici. Le perdite economiche nel settore agricolo ammontano a 180 milioni di dollari USA all’anno. Il CCF produce il Bushblok, un tronchetto combustibile, raccogliendo in modo selettivo le acacie invasive. Attualmente il progetto dà lavoro a piu’ di 30 lavoratori namibiani, e cosi’ sono state ripulite migliaia di acri di terre, ripristinandole per un uso produttivo.
Il Bushblok è solo un componente di un sistema integrato di programmi che il CCF ha sviluppato, e che insieme forniscono efficaci misure conservative a favore dei ghepardi nell’ambito di territori ampi, pur permetttendo alle popolazioni umane delle stesse zone di prosperare anch’esse.
Il CCF gestisce un’azienda agricola modello ed attività ad essa connesse su un territorio di 100.000 acri di terre adibite a bestiame e animali selvatici. Il Future Farmers of Africa (FFA) del CCF utilizza tali risorse per formare alla conservazione integrata gli allevatori/agricoltori, con tecniche di gestione del bestiame e della fauna selvatica. Il FFA forma lavoratori specializzati ed educa farmer agricoli ed emarginati a forme di reddito supplementari, dando loro la possibilità di praticare un’agricoltura sostenibile che riduce il conflitto tra uomo e fauna selvatica, fornendo al contempo opportunità economiche.
Il programma FFA si accompagna al programma dei Cani da Pastore del CCF, che affida pastori di kangal e dell’Anatolia a quegli agricoltori che saranno in grado di controllare il proprio bestiame con pratiche non letali nei riguardi dei predatori. Gli agricoltori che posseggono un cane pastore del CCF vedono ridursi il tasso di tutti i predatori dell’80% e piu’.
Il CCF partecipa altresi’ ad un altro progetto, il Greater Waterberg Complex (GWC), sperando che diventi un modello attivo di conservazione di ampi territori . Il GWC comprende un territorio di piu’ di quattro milioni di acri, comprendendo anche i territori comunali dell’est, chiamati Terra degli Herero. Il CCF sta collaborando con gli agricoltori del GWC (Complesso del Grande Waterberg) per fornire assistenza al ripristino dell’habitat, alla reintroduzione di fauna e flora selvatica, fornendo formazione per la gestione integrata di bestiame e fauna selvatica. Quando saranno pienamente operative, queste comunità avranno la responsabilità di gestire e sviluppare il proprio allevamento e le proprie risorse in fauna selvatica, ripristinando i propri territori ad un uso produttivo e promuovendo il turismo.
L’elemento piu’ incoraggiante di tutte queste attività legate al ghepardo, è che stanno funzionando, perlomeno in Namibia.
La popolazione di ghepardi in Namibia, dove il CCF opera, è aumentata sensibilmente negli ultimi 10 anni, e sarebbe perfino potuta raddoppiare. L’atteggiamento nei riguardi dei ghepardi è cambiato tra gli agricoltori namibiani, e chi gestisce il bestiame, che una volta vedeva il ghepardo come una piaga da eliminare, ora si rende conto che questa specie selvatica è un’icona, un tesoro della natura. Le Conservancies e i loro sforzi hanno creato i presupposti per la crescita economica e la prosperità fino a zone del paese che avevano avuto difficoltà ad impegnarsi nello sviluppo economico sostenibile.
Sfortunatamente, le prospettive in altri 23 paesi, dove si trovano i ghepardi, sono meno brillanti. Il CCF sta attivandosi continuamente per trovare il modo di ampliare i suoi programmi attuali, esportando le soluzioni ad aree dove si possono incontrare ghepardi in natura. La partecipazione del CCF ad azioni quali la Clinton Global Initiative, l’ impegno assunto affinchè si esporti e si espanda il progetto Bushblok costituisce un esempio di sforzi di diffusione delle soluzioni sperimentate dal CCF.
Nel contempo, il CCF e il suo staff lavorano incessantemente, giorno dopo giorno, per garantire la sopravvivenza del ghepardo. Abbiamo completato nuove ed importanti ricerche, quali il recente studio di parassitologia dei ghepardi. Ogni giorno, si raggiunge una nuova meta: nasce una nuova cucciolata di cani; il nostro nuovo caseificio produce un nuovo tipo di formaggio caprino; un ghepardo viene salvato dalla trappola di un agricoltore. Ogni giorno si presentano nuove sfide – un ghepado muore; un’attrezzatura si guasta; mancano materiali.
Il CCF continua nel suo lavoro, giorno dopo giorno, perchè non riusciamo ad immaginare un mondo senza ghepardi. Non ci fermeremo fino a qu
Non ci fermeremo fino a quando il ghepardo non avrà vinto la sua corsa contro l’estinzione.
Segui la Dr. Laurie Marker su Twitter: www.twitter.com/chewbaaka
The Super Bowl is one of the most eagerly anticipated television events in the United States. This year over 100 million people tuned in for the game and the fun commercials that entertain us during breaks in the football action. For many viewers, the ads are the main event, and the commentary and attention paid to these ads easily rivals that of the game itself.
According to Forbes Magazine, animal ads rank the highest in Super Bowl viewership. When a 30 second commercial costs as much as $3 million dollars, it’s important to tell a story that promotes the product and makes the viewer want to share the ad with his or her friends. People connect with animals and appreciate their attributes, whether it’s clever dogs or loyal Clydesdales.
Cheetahs sell products. They are the fastest land mammal on earth, and a captivating image that grabs the attention of the viewer. This year Sketchers had a funny ad about a man wearing Sketchers who saves the day for a gazelle by wrestling a cheetah to the ground. The man and the gazelle share a fist pump victory celebration.
Last year Hyundai featured an ad with a cheetah that refused to race against their latest model car, implying that the car must be very fast. I still remember the Mountain Dew “Bad Cheetah” ad, with the mountain biker retrieving a can of Mountain Dew from a (perhaps under-caffeinated?) cheetah.
Each of these ads has helped the cheetah, by reinforcing the fact that the cheetah is an icon of speed and grace. The cheetah is instantly recognized for being not just fast, but the fastest. And speed counts, in many products. That’s great, and I think we can say “Mission accomplished.”
But what if there wasn’t a cheetah? Imagine an ad featuring a race between the pronghorn antelope and a fast car? Or a wildebeest stealing a can of Mountain Dew? What about the brown hare? The imagery is less compelling.
My favorite commercial this year was the Doritos “Goat for Sale” ad. I live in Namibia, Africa and we have a model farm here at Cheetah Conservation Fund headquarters, where we raise goats and sheep and hold farmer training programs to teach best practices in preventing livestock loss from cheetahs, leopards, and other predators. I have always loved goats — I used to be a 4 H goat judge, and I’m happy to see goats are finally getting the recognition they deserve, as a wider range of people, particularly in the United States, appreciate goat cheese, goat soaps, and other products from this industrious livestock animal.
But we often fail to see predators in such practical terms. Predators are essential to a balanced, healthy ecosystem. Without the cheetah, prey species multiply unchecked, lands become overgrazed, and desertification sets in, affecting its usability for both wildlife and human populations.
The Super Bowl is all about champions — this year it was the Baltimore Ravens. The cheetah could use more corporate champions that are as excited about saving cheetahs in the wild as they are about putting them in their product advertisements. Everyone knows the cheetah is the fastest land animal, but far fewer people realize that the cheetah could disappear from earth within the next twenty years.
It’s our hope at Cheetah Conservation Fund that companies that want to use the cheetah as an advertising symbol will see the value in helping to save this magnificent animal. Nothing else can convey the concept of speed in a split second. If customers like the association with cheetahs, they might be very pleased to know that their purchase will help save cheetahs in the wild.
The Skechers ad was very entertaining, but in a world where only 10,000 cheetahs remain in the wild, we have to point out that perhaps it’s not the gazelle who needs rescuing, but the cheetah.
Twice a year, I leave Cheetah Conservation Fund operations in Namibia and do a lecture and fundraising tour, usually visiting several cities in North America, and stopping in Europe on my way home. These tours are energizing for me, because I have the opportunity to meet people from all walks of life, all of whom love the cheetah and are committed to helping CCF save it from extinction. All of these “cheetah friends,” old and new, have embraced our mission, and I am grateful to have their support.
Appreciation of the cheetah seems to be a universal impulse. People of every nation I have ever visited are fascinated with the cheetah. The cheetah’s speed, grace, and the look of fierce nobility in its seemingly endless amber eyes, have captivated humans for thousands of years. Unfortunately, it is because of humans that wild cheetah population has been decimated by 90 percent over the past century. Human-wildlife conflict, habitat destruction, illegal wildlife trafficking and the pet trade have put the cheetah’s very survival as a species in jeopardy.
I was heartened, however, by my visit to the European Parliament in Strasbourg from October 24 to October 26, because it renewed my faith that the world is indeed motivated to save the cheetah. Members of the European Parliament’s Intergroup for Animal Welfare and Conservation (IAWC) — Catherine Bearder and Andrea Zanoni — joined us for a dinner among CCF supporters. The following day I delivered apresentation to the members of the IAWC at the European Parliament, discussing many of our efforts to combat human-wildlife conflict issues, including our Livestock Guarding Dog Program, our Future Farmers of Africa Program, and our Bushblok initiative. I was gratified to find my presentation well received, with a very active question and answer session afterwards. I am very grateful to Cristiana Muscardini, the MEP from Italy who assisted in obtaining the invitation to speak, Andreas Erler, Secretariat of the Intergroup, who extended the invitation, and volunteer Elisabetta von Hoening, who worked tirelessly in planning the visit.
CCF’s approach to conservation, which focuses on creating opportunities for humans and predators to thrive side by side, has a lot to teach the world. By collaborating with local communities and finding practical, economically advantageous solutions, local Namibian farmers now see the cheetah as a valuable asset, and implement predator-friendly farming techniques as a means of increasing their productivity and profit. In Namibia we are starting to turn the tide — the overall population of cheetahs is now increasing in the areas in which we operate.
The work now needs to be replicated in other cheetah range countries, so that we can assure that the cheetah population around the world is stabilized, and so that future generations may continue to be fascinated by this magnificent animal. Many of the MEPs who participated in the session were interested in how the model of conservation we’re using at CCF can be deployed in European countries to address their problems with human-wildlife conflict — issues involving wolves and bears native to European countries, but badly decimated in number by many of the same factors that have worked against the cheetah population over the years.
We at CCF are looking forward to working with members of the EU Parliament, including Dan Jørgensen, vice chair of the Committee on the Environment, Public Health and Food Safety. We hope to see our European friends again soon, hopefully in Namibia, where we can show them first-hand the work we’re doing, and the results that we’re achieving. Because it is still my very fervent belief that while we need the help of the whole world to save the cheetah, in doing so, the cheetah has the opportunity to help the whole world in return.
Follow Dr. Laurie Marker on Twitter: www.twitter.com/chewbaaka@me
Dr. Laurie Marker, Founder and Executive Director of Cheetah Conservation Fund (CCF) located in Namibia, has been invited to speak at the European Parliament in Strasbourg during the Session of October 2012.
Dr. Marker has been invited as an Expert of Excellence to participate in the regular meetings of the Intergroup for Animal Welfare and Conservation, and will lecture on the special programs of Fund which she created in 1990 in Namibia, near Otjiwarongo, after having chosen Namibia as “The Cheetah Country,” from 1974 onwards.
We are very happy to have been selected by an Italian Member of the European Parliament, Mrs. Cristiana MUSCARDINI, who is one of the Vice-Chairs of this group. Thanks to Mrs. MUSCARDINI’s invitation, Dr. Laurie Marker will be in Strasbourg from 24 October. To honour her visit, there will be an photo exhibit of the cheetah and of CCF’s Centre of Research and Education. This will be inaugurated and a cocktail will then take place in the European Parliament, to facilitate contacts and exchanges of information with Dr. Laurie Marker.
During her visit in Strasbourg, Dr. Laurie Marker will be able to express her views and expertise of the cheetah and the conservation programs from CCF and speak about her international role and missions. We have organised a special dinner on behalf of CCF to honour her presence.
We sincerely believe that she really deserves to be helped to carry on with her intensive, continuous efforts, working tirelessly, with unwavering convictions and unequalled courage for about 30 years to protect ecosystems, biodiversity and cheetah conservation. Cheetahs are among the animal species which are threatened with extinction. It is also very important to emphasize the fact that all her efforts involve a great deal of care for the local populations, by improving their living conditions by creating jobs and by spending a very large part of her budget to develop education and training in Namibia. She also has developed Eco-tourism which contributes to improving the local economies and motivating the local population to become real participants in the protection of their environment and of their heritage, which includes wildlife.
Dr. Marker’s innovative methods in research, education and conservation show a great deal of originality and many countries are working with CCF as they provide all the necessary expertise to any country that is determined to fight against extinction, elimination, and the poaching of cheetahs. Cheetahs are the fastest mammals on earth. They have a slender, strong body, a small head and a sight allowing them to detect a prey up to three miles away; however, cheetahs are among the most threatened animal species of all predators because they show a lack of genetic diversity making them very fragile. The number of cheetahs still present in Africa and in the rest of the world is very limited (10,000 to 12,000) with the majority in Namibia, the Cheetah Capital of the World.
We are excited to invite you to come to Strasbourg to participate in this special event and to have the opportunity to join all the Associations working in close cooperation with Cheetah Conservation Fund. Your presence will represent a European effort to fight for the survival of one of the most beautiful animals on our Planet. Cheetahs truly deserve to be saved from extinction and, like every species on earth, they are essential to the preservation of biodiversity and a sound ecosystem.
A friendly dinner will be arranged in the historic centre of Strasbourg. You will have the opportunity of tasting the authentic, delicious specialties of Alsace, while spending a special evening with the Friends of CCF. This dinner will also be the opportunity to help Cheetah Conservation Fund by collecting funds so they may continue in their long-term scientific research, their efforts in education and training, and their special projects for cheetah conservation as well as CCF’s continued actions to develop a peaceful cohabitation between human beings and wildlife. Thus, your kind contribution will support this vast projects concerning not only Africa, but also other cheetah range countries in the world.
Since the European Parliament demands the detailed list of participants entering the Parliament building, it is very important for us to know the exact number of persons who will participate in this event. We thank you very much in advance for sending your answers regarding your participation in order to allow us to possibly make the necessary bookings at a restaurant, or hotel.
Betty von Hoenning
Cheetah Conservation Fund Support Group Italy
Catherine Ebbs Perin
Birgit Braun, AGA, Germany
Thank you for circling the option you have chosen and for crossing off the 2nd option
Speech of Laurie Marker in EP (max 50 persons) :YES NO
Photo Exhibit and cocktail in EP : YES NO
Alsacian Dinner : YES NO
Hotel (booking) : YES NO
Please contact Betty von Hoenning at firstname.lastname@example.org for further informations. Thank you!
The world’s fastest land animal, the sleek and long-legged cheetah, is running its race for survival. Once a common animal found on five continents, the cheetah is now an Endangered Species.
Loss of habitat, conflict with humans and its own loss of genetic variation are the main threats facing the cheetah today.
The cheetah is a top-of-the-line predator which needs large expanses of land to survive, but with changes in land use and habitat pressures, such as bush encroachment, this area is becoming smaller and smaller. Unfortunately, captive breeding efforts have not proven meaningful to the cheetah’s hopes of survival.
Cheetahs can reach speeds of over 110 km/h, but are extremely clumsy fighters. The result is that although the cheetahs are the best hunters in Africa, they lose much of their prey to the more aggressive predators, such as lions and hyenas that chase them away and steal their food.
Females define the cheetahs’ unusual social order. Except when raising cubs, they are loners, and they select their mating partners. Males meanwhile, form coalitions of siblings that hunt together and may remain together for life. In Namibia, males range over an area of about 1400 square km, while females travel farther—more than 2400 square km. Mothers have litters of up to six blind and helpless cubs. Perhaps to hide those from predators, cheetah mothers move their cubs to different dens every few days for the first six weeks of life (which makes tracking growing cubs difficult for researchers). Cheetah females reach maturity and leave the family when they are about 2 years old. No one knows for sure how long they survive in the wild; the animals live between 8 and 12 years in captivity.
The largest population of cheetahs is in Namibia, a country that is now growing more independent and democratic. With the country’s expansion, there was a drastic decline of the cheetah population in the 1980s, when the population was halved in a 10-year period, leaving an estimated population of less than 2.500 animals.
At the beginning of the 1990s, when the Cheetah Conservation Fund – CCF began its campaigns with the farming community, a gradual change has occurred within Namibia. CCF’s research has shown that most recently farmers have more tolerance for cheetahs and are killing less. Those that are being killed are linked to livestock losses. More frequently farmers are calling the CCF to help them.
Dr. Laurie Marker is Executive Director of the Cheetah Conservation Fund, a non-profit foundation she built from scratch that has become the template for a new, visionary approach to wildlife management. Without her, the fleet-footed predators of Africa’s bush country would likely be closer to extinction. Even now they are not safe. They have a low fertility rate, a high incidence of birth defects and weak immune systems.
Inbreeding is a major threat for the species
Starting in 1980, researchers began to examine the cheetah’s reproductive characteristics and conduct the first-ever studies of cheetah DNA. Semen samples revealed shockingly low sperm counts—about 10 percent of the norm for other felines. And there were huge numbers of malformed sperm—about 70 percent in each sample. This explains the animals’ low fertility.
Research on blood enzymes of a larger number of cheetahs has shown that they were all alike. Studies on their genome confirmed that they were virtual clones, which is a proof that they are catastrophically inbred. This is very disturbing as it means that also their immune systems are so similar that almost every cheetah in the world has the same vulnerability to the same diseases.
Cheetahs have passed through a population “bottleneck” about 12000 years ago. Some apocalyptic event had wiped out all but a few animals that then interbred, with disastrous consequences for the animal’s gene pool. The obvious culprit was the onset of the last ice age, a cold snap that coincided with the extinction of sabre-toothed cats, mastodons and other large prehistoric mammals. Fossil evidence shows that cheetahs evolved in North America about 8.5 million years ago and then spread throughout Asia, India, Europe and Africa; the modern species appeared about 200000 years ago. The bottleneck wiped out all of North America’s animals.
Researchers now know that the cheetah will not be a robust, vigorous species anytime in the foreseeable future and that saving the animals requires a combination of strategies. Protecting and studying them in the wild is one approach, while at the same time scientists are refining techniques to breed them in captivity, hoping to build an insurance policy for the wild population. The work continues today at the new Cheetah Science Facility in Front Royal, Virginia, USA.
In Namibia, 95 % of cheetahs live on territory owned by ranchers. When Dr Marker first got there, ranchers typically called cheetah “vermin” and killed about 600 every year. Dr Marker’s conservation plan was simple. She consistently spoke with the farmers about their experiences and about the problems they thought cheetahs were causing. She shared her expertise as it grew. Cheetahs could not kill full-grown cattle, she explained, so ranchers might want to focus on protecting newborn calves. Cheetahs would rather eat wild game than risk an encounter with humans. The best ranches, Dr Marker told the farmers, kept records for each animal, used herdsmen to spot cows ready to calve, and then brought them into an enclosure until they did so.
With time, many of the ranchers have stopped killing cheetahs and instead bring those they have trapped to the CCF, who take blood and semen samples from the animals, check their age and health, tag and release them. The CCF has also established a sanctuary for motherless cubs which currently houses 54 orphan cheetahs.
Dr Marker’s observations of cheetah behaviour constitute most of what we know about them. She was the first to understand that females are the ones that select mates—a major reason why captive breeding had such a poor record. She also learned that if two or more females occupy the same space, they may suppress each other’s reproductive hormones. Today, breeders isolate females and let them choose mates from among the available males.
The CCF organises integrated local education programs. In 1990, to help the African shepherds and goatherds, Dr Marker consulted evolutionary biologist Ray Copping who recommended using guard dogs against the incursion of cheetahs. The Anatolian shepherd dog has proven to be an efficient help in keeping cheetahs away from sheep and goat herds. Over the years the CCF has given away 280 Anatolian shepherd puppies to ranches and communes all over the country.
The CCF has now a satellite program in Kenya, assists cheetah conservation efforts in Algeria and Iran, trains farmers in Botswana and breeds dogs in South Africa.
Today the world cheetah population stands at about 12500 animals in 26 countries. This is the lowest point in probably 9000 years. Nevertheless, the CCF campaigns have shown that conservation can give positive results even with very vulnerable and inbred species like the cheetah.
For more information, visit the Cheetah Conservation Fund Website