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AfriCat-Who we are

THE AFRICAT FOUNDATION

AfriCat was founded in 1991 on Okonjima Farm in Central Namibia (though officially registered as a non-profit organisation in 1993) whose mission was to contribute to the long term conservation of Namibia’s large carnivores. AfriCat was created as a result of information gained on Okonjima when it was still a cattle farm losing calves to leopards and the desire and urgent need of sharing this information with fellow farmers. The consequent contact with numerous farmers and AfriCat’s exposure led to the rescue of many trapped large carnivores. Since 1993, 1080 of these predators were rescued. Over 85% were released back into the wild.

cheetah face close up

AfriCat North (then known as Afri-Leo) was registered as a Namibian-based, non-profit organisation in 1997 (WO Reg. # 175). Since its inception, AfriCat North has worked closely with The AfriCat Foundation, founded in 1991 on the family farm, Okonjima. Due to the ever-increasing demands of carnivore conservation, a mutual decision was reached to merge these groups under the AfriCat banner. Afri-Leo’s programmes and projects will continue and expand under the name AfriCat North. Dedicated to the protection and conservation of the Namibian lion (Panthera leo), AfriCat North has its headquarters in north eastern Namibia, bordering the Etosha Natonal Park. AfriCat North is ideally situated to play a vital role in supporting Environmental Education, Farmer-Predator Conflict Mitigation (Human-Wildlife Conflict Mitigation) and Research & Monitoring Programmes, in the Kunene Region of Namibia.

 

THE AFRICAT FOUNDATION IS COMMITTED TO THE LONG-TERM CONSERVATION OF NAMIBIA’S LARGE CARNIVORES!

OUR MISSION IS TO MAKE A SIGNIFICANT CONTRIBUTION TO CONSERVATION THROUGH EDUCATION.

WE WILL CONTINUE TO STRIVE TOWARDS ENSURING THE LONG TERM SURVIVAL OF NAMIBIA’S PREDATORS IN THEIR NATURAL HABITAT.

 

 

THE FARMER AND HWC: However, despite concerted efforts, few farmers adopted the tried & tested solutions suggested by AfriCat and AfriCat soon became the easy way out – 'problem' cheetahs and leopards were caught in cage traps and AfriCat was called to collect! AfriCat was soon faced with a dilemma – what to do with the cheetahs and leopards taken off these farms? All rescued animals were first carefully examined. The cats that were fit and not too stressed were released as soon as possible if a suitable place was available.

All the others i.e. the orphans, the injured, the weak and the old were taken to the AfriCat Carnivore Care Centre, where, if necessary, a veterinarian was consulted. Over time, the resultant number of 'captive' carnivores increased while the options for release decreased! Food and medical care costs rose to astronomical amounts! Fortunately thanks to Okonjima and AfriCat supporters funding was sourced for their continued upkeep. The problem, however, remained that with the calls from farmers, the numbers of carnivores at AfriCat’s Carnivore Care Centre continued to grow. In essence, detracting from our mission statement, 'to keep wild carnivores wild'!

AfriCat has grown significantly since its inception and has over the years identified the need to include a focus on education, community support, research and rehabilitation as being essential to accomplishing our new mission: to make a SIGNIFICANT contribution to CONSERVATION through EDUCATION while still striving towards the long term survival of Namibia’s predators in their natural habitat.

The newly completed (May 2010) OKONJIMA NATURE RESERVE is now dedicated to environmental education and to the research and rehabilitation of captive carnivores.

 

Monitoring AfriCat's Rehabilitated Cheetahs
FLIMED & EDITED BY ITV - © ITV 2010 - Tracking & Monitoring Rehabilitated Carnivores: Besides giving the cheetahs & other rehabilitated carnivores a chance to return to the wild, the 20 000ha Okonjima, Private Nature Reserve provides orphaned cheetahs & wild dogs with the opportunity to hone their hunting skills and become self-sustaining. The success of this project provides other substantial benefits:
It gives us the opportunity to assess whether rehabilitation is a successful means of conserving an endangered population and it also allows for the number of cheetahs in captivity to be reduced.

 

 

NAMIBIA: Namibia is situated along the south-western coast of Africa and covers an area of 824 300 km² (321 500 square miles). This large country has a population of only 2.5 million people. All regions of Namibia are populated with wildlife, including large carnivores, although population numbers vary dramatically in different parts of the country. Namibia is home to approximately 25% of the world’s cheetah population of which 90% live on farmland. Namibia’s other large carnivores, namely, leopards, lions, wild dogs, brown and spotted hyaenas, are not however, believed to make up such a large percentage of the world’s population even though they also all occur in the unique farmland ecosystem. It is the inevitable conflict with humans on commercial and communal farmland that created the demand for the establishment of The AfriCat Foundation.

Although AfriCat is active throughout Namibia, the organisation operates from two locations – the Okonjima Nature Reserve in central Namibia, near the town of Otjiwarongo - and from The AfriCat North base, bordering Etosha National Park.

africat operational area 2014 with namibia

 

The Team :

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AfriCat Foundation Board of Trustees. A new vision has been created for the AfriCat Foundation and in order to implement this vision it was also deemed necessary to re-organise the AfriCat Board of Trustees. A larger, more broad-based Board would be better able to represent the various stakeholders of the Foundation, as well as provide differing skill sets and fresh perspectives to the Foundation.

 

At a meeting of the Board of Trustees on 9 April 2011, Wayne Hanssen, as proprietor of Okonjima and Dr. Mark Jago veterinarian for the Ministry of Environment and Tourism as well as to the AfriCat Foundation were carried over from the old Board and the following individuals added:
Tammy Hoth (nee Hanssen), Wayne Hanssen, Donna Hanssen, Mark Reinecke, Tristan Boehme, Kathleen Newton, Karen Codling.

 

A Management Committee was set up comprising of:
Director Tammy Hoth-Hanssen; Two Trustee Representatives, Donna Hanssen and Tristan Boehme and Office Manager, Selma Amadhila. The establishment of this committee permits day-to-day decisions of the Foundation to be effected efficiently and smoothly. The Management Committee, with a freshly renovated office, has created a renewed impetus for moving AfriCat forward. 
Email: info@africat.org or africatnorth@africat.org

 

The AfriCat Foundation - Scientific Committee voted in on the 30th of June 2013:
Permanent members of the committee include: Dr Mark Jago, Prof Henk Bertschinger, Dr Gerhard Steenkamp, Dr Adrian Tordiffe, Dr Rina Grant-Biggs, Dr Laura Brandt , Dr Sonja Boy, Donna Hanssen, Wayne Hanssen, Tammy Hoth-Hanssen and Helen Newmarch.

It was agreed that the role of the committee is to afford advice and assistance to the Foundation in developing research projects along the lines of its stated aims and objectives.

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AfriCat UK: Carey Widdows, residing in the U.K., represents the Foundation in the U.K. David Farquharson, residing in the U.K., represents the Foundation in the U.K.
Email: info-uk@africat.org

Website: www.africat.co.uk

Mark Reinecke, residing in Bangkok, represents the Foundation in the U.K. and in Namibia.

 

TUSK UK & TUSK USA: AfriCat is able to channel its fund-raising efforts through The Tusk Trust's support structure and administrative infrastructure – further, the Foundation benefits from Tusk Trust's high profile and its status as a celebrated and respected conservation organisation.

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AfriCat America: Pete and Wanda Hanssen residing in the USA, represents the Foundation in America since 2012. Pete Hanssen was born in Namibia.
Email: phanssen.AfricatAmerica@earthlink.net

 

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