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Rehabilitating Captive Cheetahs

cheetahs collarscheetah by okonjima fence

AfriCat’s Cheetah Rehabilitation project was initiated to give some of our captive cheetahs an opportunity to return to their natural environment. Although hunting in carnivores is instinctive, many of the cheetahs at AfriCat lack experience due to being orphaned or removed from the wild at an early age. This inexperience, as well as their conditioning to captivity, makes these animals unsuitable for release on farmland. The cheetahs (usually a coalition of brothers and sisters) are fitted with radio-collars before their release into the 20 000ha Nature Reserve so that their welfare and progress can be closely monitored.  Rehabilitated cheetahs are not released on farmland.

Besides giving the cheetahs a chance to return to the wild, 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.

The 4,500-hectare TUSK Cheetah Rehabilitation Camp was completed towards the end of 1999 and stocked with game by mid 2000. Our first cheetahs, 3 orphan sibling males, who had been with us since they were two months old, were released into the rehabilitation area in November 2000. These cheetahs were monitored daily and despite having no hunting experience were successful in sustaining themselves almost within 2 months with hunts that included kudu, impala, scrub hares, hartebeest, zebra, steenbok and duiker.

Between 2000 and 2008 another 8 cheetah were rehabilitated.

2010 another 17 cheetahs got the chance to run wild in the newly constructed 20 000ha Okonjima Nature Reserve.

The sad and unfortunate death of some of our cats does not detract from the overall goal of the project - orphaned cheetahs had the instinct to hunt and were able to sustain themselves. Guests can participate in the 'tracking' of the rehabilitated cheetahs on our "Cheetah Tracking Trail".

Important note: The 20 000ha Okonjima, Private Nature Reserve provides orphaned cheetahs with the opportunity to hone their hunting skills and become self-sustaining - thereby giving them a chance to return to the wild!

 

AfriCat Rehabilitating Captive Cheetahs
FILMED AND EDITED BY ITV, UK - © itv 2010. 18 May 2010 – The AfriCat Rehabilitation Prgm is back on track – the first 5 cheetahs are released into the 200km² Okonjima Nature Reserve. AfriCat’s Cheetah Rehabilitation project was initiated to give some of our captive cheetahs an opportunity to return to their natural environment. Although hunting in carnivores is instinctive, many of the cheetahs at AfriCat lack experience due to being orphaned or removed from the wild at an early age. This inexperience, as well as their conditioning to captivity, makes these animals unsuitable for release on farmland. The cheetahs (usually a coalition of brothers and sister) are fitted with radio-collars before their release into the camp so that their welfare and progress can be closely monitored.

 

 

Last Updated on Wednesday, 02 October 2013 06:17

Hits: 16412

Program

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

The AfriCat Foundation was founded in the early 90’s and formally registered as a non-profit organisation in August 1993. The Foundation has since grown significantly and what started out primarily as a welfare organisation, has over the years, identified the need to focus on education and research, as being essential to accomplishing our mission – the long-term conservation of Namibia’s large carnivores.

leopard with collar Africat cheetah face and legs Namibia

The Foundation has since grown significantly and what started out primarily as a welfare organisation, has over the years, identified the need to focus on education and research, as being essential to accomplishing our mission – the long-term conservation of Namibia’s large carnivores.

 

AfriCat's Programmes:

E D U C A T I O N

AfriCat provides environmental education programmes for the youth of Namibia by guiding them towards a greater understanding of the natural world and the importance of wildlife conservation.

The AfriCat Environmental Education programme is an enabler within the broader Namibian education system. Catering to a wide spectrum of ages and socio-economic backgrounds, AfriCat’s vision is to harness the rapt attention which learners embody when they visit AfriCat’s two centres into a deep-seated awareness of ALL environmental issues and, specifically in the Namibian context, those involving the vexed juxtaposition between farming communities and the country’s large carnivores.

  • To continuously develop, propagate, and improve Environmental Education programmes for the benefit of Namibians, in the pursuit of increasing awareness and understanding of the complexity of environmental issues, to teach and encourage sustainable living practices, to promote greater tolerance of carnivores outside of protected areas, and to find practical solutions to the farmer-predator conflict situation.
  • To develop the knowledge, skills, and action-competence of learners and their communities, enabling them to participate in the conservation of their areas, leading to the sustainable management of carnivore populations in Namibia.
  • Through increased education and awareness, AfriCat is dedicated to the protection and conservation of wild & free-ranging carnivore populations in Namibia, ultimately ensuring the survival of the species.
  • To develop and support specific community initiatives, programmes, and projects, which are targeted to sustainably contribute to economic enhancement of households, with the consequent gradual but steady impact of poverty alleviation and skill augmentation.

The programme has already reached over 25 000 children and young adults at the two education centres and through the Outreach Programmes. (AfriCat on Okonjima & AfriCat north, bordering Etosha National Park).
See our page on: Conservation Through Education.

 

H U M A N – W I L D L I F E   C O N F L I C T   M I T I G A T I O N  &   C O M M U N I T Y   S U P P O R T

AfriCat supports commercial (free-hold) and the communal farming communities of northern Namibia, specifically those bordering the Etosha National Park, in dealing with human/wildlife conflict issues and predator intrusion. In general, instead of predator removal as a method of conflict mitigation, AfriCat now offers farmers a variety of effective farm-management techniques to better protect their livestock. In this way, farmers are encouraged to become predator tolerant and most of the resident predators remain in place.

The AfriCat Communal Carnivore Conservation Programme (CCCP) includes the following projects:

  • Livestock Protection Programme
  • Community support & Environmental Education
  • Carnivore Conservation, Research & Monitoring

Lion research around the Etosha National Park: The Communal Carnivore Conservation & Research Programme (hereafter CCCP) will effectively support farmers as well as ensure the protection of the wild lion along Etosha’s borders and elsewhere. In order to establish the effectiveness of relocating these trans-boundary lions as well as the long-term sustainability of conflict mitigation practices, a research project has been developed.

Post Rescue Lions: The AfriCat – Etosha Transboundary Lion Project aims at monitoring the movements of collared perpetrators, in the hope that they will not return to the farms where they were caught. The outcome of this project will provide valuable data as to whether all lions leaving the Etosha Park to feast on livestock become habitual stock-raiders or whether some only 'occasionally' cross these borders, returning to their home-ranges thereafter.

See:
Community Support
Human Wildlife Conflict

 

R E S E A R C H

AfriCat supports an ongoing collaboration with researchers, scientists and the conservation authorities by working closely with farming communities, allowing for constructive research to take place in support of the long-term conservation of Namibia’s predators.

AfriCat’s Carnivore Research includes the following projects:

  • The long-term health monitoring and immune-competence of captive cheetahs and other felids at AfriCat and in the Okonjima Nature Reserve
  • Cheetah genetic diversity demography
  • Reversibility of Deslorelin implants in males
  • Does Dental intervention improve on the well-being of captive carnivores

See: Research

 

Our Annual health checks:
For a number of years, specialist veterinarians have been invited to share their expertise or to contribute to valuable research during our annual health-checks. Veterinary specialists in the fields of dentistry, ophthalmology, gastro-enterology, and reproduction are also consulted to give input to the health assessments and perform various procedures which may be required.
See: Annual Health-checks

 

Namibian Wild Dog Project:
The selected study site (Mangetti Cattle Ranch and Mangetti National Park) is situated in the Kavango Region along the boundary between commercial farmland and Kavango communal farmland, to the east of the Etosha National Park. The study area includes about 40 farms and covers approximately 200 000 hectares, where wild dog packs are regularly sighted and farmer-predator conflict threatens their long-term survival.

This is the first collaborative effort between 3 NGO’S; AfriCat, N’aankuse and Namibian Nature Foundation (NNF) Wild Dog Project commenced in February 2013.
See: The Namibia Wild Dog Research Project

 

The AfriCat Hobatere Lion Project:
We are at present conducting a study of the Lion (Panthera leo) population within the Hobatere Concession Area and movements between the Hobatere Concession Area, western Etosha National Park and adjacent communal farmland.
See: The AfriCat Hobatere Lion Research Project 

 

The AfriCat Predator and Prey Population Density Study in the Okonjima Nature Reserve:

  • Understand the drivers of tourism in private game parks, by establishing how private, tourism-based game parks in Namibia can play a role in the long-term conservation of carnivores.
  • Develop a model for the variety of prey animals that can be supported by this environment - Test the model against the information available (data gathered, direct action, land recovery management, training - focusing on the species in their natural habitat)
  • Develop a model for the predator that can be supported by the available prey base - Test this model against available information (data gathered, direct action, focusing on the species in their natural habitat)
  • Use the correct models to determine predator-prey numbers and evaluate and adapt on a yearly basis
  • Evaluate different methods to rehabilitate degraded areas.

Researching Leopard & Hyaenas in the 200km² Okonjima Nature Reserve: Our dream is to turn the 200 km² Okonjima Nature Reserve, which was recently denuded farmland, back to its original natural state, last seen perhaps 200 years ago. This dream must be sustainable and a benefit to local communities for it to survive the tides of change in Africa. Researching carnivores on Okonjima and on communal and commercial farmland - particularly cheetahs, lions, leopards and brown hyaenas – will help future farming communities and reduce the numbers of predators killed on farmland. AfriCat wants to offers practical solutions to the farmer-carnivore conflict.

 

De-bushing the Okonjima Nature Reserve:
Ultimately, we are hoping to have the reserve's habitat in such a condition that it can be divided into thirds: one third being open plains, one third being woodlands and then one third to be left as riverine thickets. This will be no easy task and at the moment we are working on a 10-year plan. Even though one might have cleared an area before, one will have to come back to the same area again in 2 – 3 years, to take out bush that has grown again. During this time we will be using more controlled burning as this will also promote the natural growth cycle of the new grasses.

The next couple of years are going to be a tough fight, but at the end we are certain that we will be able to win the fight against bush encroachment. The result will hold positive benefits to both fauna and flora within the Reserve.

 

R E H A B I L I T A T I O N

AfriCat provides an environment for previously non-releasable large carnivores to hone their hunting skills in a 4500 ha reserve and a new 16 000-hectare reserve, on Okonjima. Carnivores learn to become self-sustaining which gives them the opportunity to return to their natural environment.
This programme also supports constructive research.

Rehabilitating Captive Cheetahs and the success rate of Rehabilitation:

  • Determine how rehabilitation will influence predator-prey ratios and update the model accordingly
  • Determine the success of 'captive cheetah rehabilitation' within an island-bound conservation area.

AfriCat Rehabilitating Captive Cheetahs
FILMED AND EDITED BY ITV, UK - © itv 2010. 18 May 2010 – The AfriCat Rehabilitation Prgm is back on track – the first 5 cheetahs are released into the 200km² Okonjima Nature Reserve. AfriCat’s Cheetah Rehabilitation project was initiated to give some of our captive cheetahs an opportunity to return to their natural environment. Although hunting in carnivores is instinctive, many of the cheetahs at AfriCat lack experience due to being orphaned or removed from the wild at an early age. This inexperience, as well as their conditioning to captivity, makes these animals unsuitable for release on farmland. The cheetahs (usually a coalition of brothers and sister) are fitted with radio-collars before their release into the camp so that their welfare and progress can be closely monitored.

 

 

See:

Rehabilitation
Rehabilitating Captive Cheetahs

 

W E L F A R E

AfriCat provides a home, food and care for young, orphaned or injured animals until they can be rehabilitated and released back into the wild.

Only 10% of all the carnivores AfriCat has rescued - are with us on Okonjima and are cared for by the AFRICAT WELFARE programme.
See: AfriCat Carnivore Care Centre Information

 

C O N S E R V A T I O N  T H R O U G H  E D U C A T I O N

 

AfriCat on Okonjima                        

AfriCat

AfriCat North

africat on okonjima Safaris africat namibia  logo  africat north Endangered Wildlife

Last Updated on Wednesday, 21 May 2014 06:48

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AFRICAT’S CARNIVORE CARE PROGRAMME:

leopard blue skycheetah-cubs-sugar-spice africat Namibia

What is 'animal welfare'?

"The above would suggest that 'animal welfare' includes not only the state of the animal's body, but also its feelings. Most would agree that animals have feelings like fear, frustration, boredom, aggression etc and it has been proposed that 'animal welfare' consists entirely in feelings and that these have evolved to protect the animal's primary needs.

Thus, if an animal feels well, it is faring well. A feelings-based approach to welfare research typically measures behavioral outcomes and behavioral signs of fear or frustration. Such research has led to the conclusion that animals have fundamental behavioral needs that they must be allowed to satisfy!"

Providing a healthy living environment for large carnivores in temporary or permanent captivity is fundamental to minimising illness and injuries. The animals at AfriCat are housed in spacious enclosures of between twelve and fifty acres in a natural, stress-free environment. They are fed a well-balanced diet and vitamin and mineral supplements are used to prevent deficiencies. The animals are observed on a daily basis to monitor their wellbeing and condition, allowing for a quick response and treatment for any illness or injuries should they occur.

Annual health checks on the large carnivores at AfriCat are headed by veterinarians from Namibia and South Africa. In-depth health examinations are carried out on all the captive and rehabilitated carnivores. All the cats are darted and then taken to a well equipped, newly built AfriCat clinic for their evaluations.

[The new clinic was kindly sponsored by long-time supporter and cat lover, Mr Jim Maltman.]

All the carnivores are vaccinated and treated for both external and internal parasites. Each cat receives a thorough dental examination. All the carnivores are also weighed & measured – an ongoing research project to be able to accurately determine the body mass index of a captive and free-roaming carnivore.

caracal-carnivore-care-center Safaris health-check-carnovore-care-center Holiday Africajakal-carnivore-care-center Endangered Wildlifeafricat-albert Africat

AFRICAT'S CARNIVORE CARE CENTRE (welfare)

Here at AfriCat, over the past 2 decades, the Rescue and Release Programme developed as a result of our relationship with the farming community.

The Welfare, in turn, was a by-product of the Rescue and Release Programme. We currently hold 12 Cheetahs in our care that are young, fit and wild enough to be part of our Rehabilitation Project. There are, however, 16 cheetahs, 4 leopards and 4 lion too old or tame to go back into the wild. These individuals are going to live out their lives under the expert care of the AfriCat team and continue to be "ambassadors" for their wild counter-parts.

It is only those that are not suitable for release that have remained in AfriCat’s care.


AFRICAT HQ CARNIVORE INFORMATION CENTRE AND CLINIC @OKONJIMA

 

AfriCat Foundation @ Okonjima - Information Centre

 

AfriCat provides a home (min 1 ha per captive, large carnivore), food and care for over 36 animals that currently cannot be released into the wild, or who need subsidized diets while honing their skills in the Rehabilitation Reserve.
The 16 cheetahs, all rescued from commercial farmland across Namibia; 4 lions, all rescued from farmland adjacent to the Etosha National Park and 4 leopards all rescued from commercial farmland in central Namibia, are the permanent residents at AfriCat’s welfare sanctuary and are destined to remain with us for the rest of their lives as it is extremely dangerous and difficult to release hand-raised, captive, habituated big cats. Their hunting skills are instinctive, but due to captivity, they have lost their natural respect for humans and could cause loss of human life if released into the wild.

There are several reasons as to why these animals have had to remain in our care.

  1. The primary one being orphaned cubs that would be dependent on their mothers for food and protection and are too young to cope on their own. These cubs have either been captured without their mothers or their mothers have been killed. Only by limiting or eliminating those factors that influence habituation and ensuring that animals retain or regain their natural fear of man, will the rehabilitated animals be able to return to the land from which they were originally removed. To ensure that orphaned large carnivores have every chance of returning to the wild, the time they spend in temporary captivity is kept to a minimum; ideally the animals should be released into the rehabilitation reserve between the ages of two years to four years, when they would have already become independent from their mothers in the wild and strong enough to fend for themselves.
  2. Many of the animals that AfriCat has taken in have been in captivity elsewhere for extended periods of time; they have become habituated to people or completely tame, making most of them unsuitable for release. These animals are either no longer wanted, have become too expensive to care for, or have been confiscated by the authorities for being held illegally or with improper care.

 young cheetahleopard

HOW WELFARE CAN SUPPORT LONG-TERM, SUSTAINABLE CONSERVATION:

I. Assisting research: Keeping large carnivores in captivity in Namibia requires a Permit from the Ministry of Environment and Tourism. One of the conditions of this Permit is that a veterinary inspection is carried out once a year. To comply with this regulation AfriCat makes use of this opportunity to carry out thorough health examinations on the animals in care. Veterinary specialists in the fields of dentistry, ophthalmology, gastro-enterology and reproduction are also consulted to give input to the health assessments and perform various procedures that may be required. The animals are vaccinated, blood samples are taken and contraceptive implants are administered.

The annual health examinations of the cheetahs at AfriCat give invited specialist veterinarians the opportunity to conduct research on various aspects of animal health, particularly those relating to the health of large carnivores in captivity. As well as providing expert information on the health of AfriCat’s animals, the examinations also allow for the comparison of results with similar studies being conducted on large carnivores in other captive facilities. Some of this information can also be used to gain insight into the health of large carnivores in the wild.

Ongoing collaboration with scientists and the conservation authorities and working closely with the farming community allows for studies to be conducted that provide valuable information on large carnivores and their long-term conservation in Namibia. Researchers have been involved in a number of studies involving captive cheetahs at AfriCat’s Care Centre, as well as the cheetahs and leopards captured on farmland and released back into the wild.

II. Conservation Through Education: It is important to understand that animal welfare supports environmental education where children who are unfamiliar with wild animals are able to see these animals at close quarters and learn to appreciate their beauty and value. The animals in captivity at AfriCat provide opportunities to increase awareness of their wild counterparts and their conservation priorities to the children at the Education Centres as well as to foreign visitors to Namibia.

Keeping carnivores in captivity for this reason alone is not AfriCat’s philosophy and we hope with the new, 22 000ha Okonjima Rehabilitation Reserve (completed in 2010), less carnivores will have to stay in captivity. Conservation is complex: when wild animals compete with humans the solutions are not straight forward.

AfriCat started out with a mission statement to "keep wild cats wild", hence 'A free Cat'. Concentrating on Adult and Youth Education, initiating wild Cheetah Research including the help of farmers and evolving the Rehabilitation Project to such an extent that it becomes a worldwide model for Reintroduction, are all in keeping with that early statement.

cheetah-check Namibia  lion-teeth-check Safaris cheetah-curious Holiday Africaleopard-cub Endangered Wildlife

More about the definition of 'what animal welfare is'?

The term "animal welfare" is being used increasingly by corporations, consumers, veterinarians, politicians, and others. However, the term can mean different things to different people.

Understandably, in the past, veterinarians and farmers have seen animal welfare chiefly in terms of the body and the physical environment (shelter, feed, etc.): if an animal is healthy and producing well, it is faring well.

Research on aspects of animal welfare has also focused on the body, using physiological measures, such as endorphins, plasma cortisol, and heart rate, to examine how the animal is coping with its environment.

However, there are limitations to seeing animal welfare only in terms of the body. One limitation is that genetics and the environment can produce desirable physical outcomes, even though the animal's mental state is compromised. For example, a canine breed champion may have perfect conformation and be in perfect health, but it may be very anxious in its home environment.

Another limitation is that some physical parameters (heart rate, plasma cortisol) are difficult to interpret, because they can be increased by both positive and negative experiences, such as the presence of a mate and the presence of a predator.

Another view of welfare, linked to the feelings-based approach, is that animals fare best if they can live according to their nature and perform their full range of behaviours. In this case, physical suffering, such as feeling cold, and mental suffering, such as the fear induced by being preyed upon, may be acceptable.

Sectors of the general public favour the "natural living" approach, however, as with physical and mental aspects of welfare, animal welfare scientists have largely discounted this as the sole basis for ensuring optimal welfare. Instead, they propose that the physical, mental, and "natural-living" aspects of welfare are interrelated and are all of ethical concern. Thus, the most widely accepted definition of animal welfare is that it comprises the state of the animal's body and mind, and the extent to which its nature (genetic traits manifest in breed and temperament) is satisfied.

However, the 3 aspects of welfare sometimes conflict, and this presents practical and ethical challenges.

 

Last Updated on Thursday, 17 November 2016 02:15

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Environmental education

After many years of working with the farming communities it became evident that environmental education was vital to the long-term conservation of large carnivores. The main aim of the programme will be to develop and improve environmental education for the benefit of the Namibian people in an attempt to increase awareness and understanding of the complexities of environmental issues, promote greater tolerance of large carnivores outside of protected areas and to find practical solutions to the human-wildlife conflict situation. The programme will endeavour to develop the knowledge and skills of learners and communities, enabling them to participate in the conservation and sustainable management of wildlife populations in Namibia.

cheetah being examined educating guides

The AfriCat Environmental Education Centre on Okonjima was built in 1998 and partially funded by a donation from the World Society for the Protection of Animals (WSPA). The centre is ideally placed to service schools in the central region. Schools and learners are invited to participate in a 3-day/2-night environmental education programme. The programme is adapted to the ages of the different groups and includes activities that are focused on predator conservation and general environmental awareness.

 

The AfriCat North Environmental Education Centre is ideally situated for schools and communities in the northern and north-western parts of Namibia. Thanks to a generous donation by the Swedish Local Environment Fund (SIDA) in collaboration with the Namibian Nature Foundation (NNF), the construction of the first classroom at the Environmental Education Centre was completed by September 2001. The building of ablution facilities has since been completed and classroom equipment was privately sponsored. The construction of thatched shade areas, designed to encourage outdoor teaching, was completed in September 2002. The Centre offers youth groups and farming communities of the Kunene, as well as other regions, the opportunity to participate in extensiveenvironmental education programmes, ultimately encouraging attitude change and establishing a deep-seated awareness of environmental issues, specifically those involving large carnivores.

 

The Environmental Education Programme includes study of the ecosystem and animal behaviour, as well as farm management and improved livestock-protection methods. Youth of all ages are encouraged to become involved in an Environmental Education Outreach Programme, where active participation enables them to learn more about large carnivores, their role within the natural ecosystem and the problems facing these animals due to loss of ideal habitat, disease, drought and persecution. Since its inception the AfriCat Environmental Education Programme has reached over 20 000 children and young adults at the Education Centres and through the Outreach Programme.

N$250 | US$23 | £17 weekend stay for 1 school kid at our Environmental Education Programme.  (See: AfriCat's Environmental Education Weekend Programme)
I would like to donate towards the Environmental Education Programme.
Donate online here
For more information see our support page.
It costs approximately (N$5,000, US$454, £300, €430) for a group of 20 children to visit one of our Education Centres.
This funding goes towards covering the cost of education material, transport, and food.

 

The AfriCat Environmental Education Programme: 2013

cte black 300px

Our Mission Statement: "CONSERVATION through EDUCATION"

Our Vision: "To reach as many children, teenagers and adults as possible from all walks of life regarding CONSERVATION of our ENVIRONMENT on a personal, local, national and global level."

Our Goals: "To provide fun, meaningful but realistic environmental education to learners of all ages explaining the true concept of environmental conservation as the preservation of our environment by understanding the many problems we must all address and by practicing suggested solutions."

We aim to do this by:

  • providing FUN week-end and week-long camps at the AfriCat Environmental Education Centre based on Okonjima using the EE Centre, the Okonjima Nature Reserve, the Africat Information Centre and the AfriCat Carnivore Care Centre as "classrooms"
  • Our courses will complement and expand on the Namibian National Curriculum and are run during term time and during the holidays.

- assisting in setting up more EC ( Environmental Conservation) Clubs in communities and schools and providing ongoing support and assistance to the club leaders.

- our Outreach Programme where we will take environmental education to rural groups and schools that are unable to come to us.

- identifying individuals within each group that show potential/extra interest and offer them follow up camps so as to keep "the fire burning"!

- offering practical/refresher courses to teachers, both student and current, as well as to any other interested adults from both the urban and rural areas.

- to collaborate with other similar organizations and relevant Government Ministries so as to ensure a network of extra-curricular environmental education within Namibia

As already mentioned in our AfriCat newsletters our programmes are well under way at all three levels i.e. primary, secondary and tertiary levels.

 

 africat environmental education logo

 

The two afternoon "EE”" sessions at POCS (Perivoli Okonjima Country School) are ongoing and during the first term focused on the three Rs . . . REDUCE, REUSE and RECYCLE!
Ms Roeline Hansen who is our EE teacher at POCS produced a small play which was put on in our staff village as well as organizing a competition to encourage the scholars to make something fun or useful from recycled materials . . . . the result: Meet Mr Robo van Yota! . . . who won hands down!!

 

tusk trust logoOur secondary section (which currently forms the bulk of our programme) is well under way now that we have a "new" site with more facilities and a full time Environmental Educator, Mrs. Helen Newmarch.
An enormous "Thank you" must go to TUSK for the provision of our educator’s salary. . . . and this comes from the many children as well that have and will benefit from our courses : "Thank you Thank you TUSK"

 

people and wildlife solutions logo 

Our tertiary or adult section is still a case of "charity begins at home" because the preparation, planning and logistics of the external adult programme are taking longer than expected to finalize.
However the Guides Training is progressing well and so are the weekly English and Computer courses for our staff. Many thanks to two of our POCS teachers, Ms Grobler and Ms Martin who are helping out with the latter.
We are busy encouraging the use of solar energy amongst our staff and we have started our tree planting and "village green" programme. This we did on World Earth Day to join in on the world wide campaign to increase awareness of the enormous problems that our amazing "Mother Earth" is facing.

 

Further Reading:

AfriCat Foundation Envirinmental Education Programme 2017

AfriCat Foundation Envirinmental Education Programme 2016

AfriCat Foundation Envirinmental Education Programme 2015

AfriCat Foundation Envirinmental Education Programme 2014

 

2013:
AfriCat's 2013 Environmental Education Programme. Half yearly report.
AfriCat's 2013 Environmental Education Programme. 2013 marked the rejuvenation of the AfriCat Environmental Education programme.
The Perivoli Okonjima Country School newsletter July 2013.

 

2012:
Introducing Ms Helen Newmarch heading our conservation through education programmes.
The Perivoli Okonjima Country School newsletter Dec 2012.
The Tusk Trust and Daily Telegraph join in. Report on Spes Bona primary school's visit to the Okonjima Nature Reserve and AfriCat's Environmental Education Programme.

 

 

Last Updated on Wednesday, 02 May 2018 01:51

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Research

Ongoing collaboration with scientists and the conservation authorities and working closely with the farming community allows for studies to be conducted that provide valuable information on large carnivores and their long-term conservation in Namibia.

AfriCat has been involved in a number of studies involving the cheetahs at AfriCat, as well as the cheetahs and leopards captured on farmland.

eye specialist Dr Gary Bauer Africatwilddog research

Studies Involving the Cheetahs at AfriCat

The annual health examinations of the cheetahs at AfriCat give invited specialist veterinarians the opportunity to conduct research a various aspects of animal health, particularly those relating to the health of large carnivores in captivity. As well as providing expert information on the health of AfriCat’s animals, the examinations also allow for the comparison of results with similar studies being conducted on large carnivores in other captive facilities. Some of this information can also be used to gain insight into the health of large carnivores in the wild.

 

AfriCat HQ Carnivore Clinic @ Okonjima

 

 

AfriCat’s Work with Cheetahs and Leopards on Farmland

The data that is collected from each animal that moves through the AfriCat programme is recorded in a database that allows for easy access to information either on a particular cat or when providing statistics on these carnivores to researchers around the world.

The data from the captured cheetahs and leopards, i.e. where each animal was captured, its characteristics, such as gender, age, etc., gives us some idea as to the geographical distribution and demographics of the wild cheetah and leopard populations living on Namibian farmland

The biological samples (blood, serum and hair) can be used for various studies with analysis results potentially giving us insight into the health, as well as the genetic make-up of Namibia’s wild cheetah and leopard populations.

In order to measure the long-term success of the Rescue and Release Programme, AfriCat will be conducting a research project to monitor some of the cheetahs and leopards after their release to establish their movements and survival rates. This will assist us in determining to what extent they are returning to their original territories, establishing new territories and how long they survive; therefore effectively contributing to the growth of the wild populations of their species. This study is due to start in the next couple of months.

AfriCat is participating in a study looking at the population density of leopards in Namibia. The study is being conducted by the Ministry of Environment and Tourism and the Large Carnivore Management Forum (LCMAN). LCMAN is a forum made up of government and non-government organisations involved in the conservation of large carnivores in Namibia.

 

AfriCat North – Lion Research and Monitoring Programmes

AfriCat North (then Afri-Leo) assisted with the Etosha Lion Project which was conducted by the Ministry of Environment and Tourism within Etosha. The first monitoring project (which commenced in 2001) was aimed at monitoring cross-border lion movement and lion mortalities, assessing the potential disease threat to lions from outside of the Park and helping reduce and mitigate the farmer-lion conflict.

In collaboration with the Ministry of Environment and Tourism, AfriCat North assisted with a Farmer-Predator Survey, including approximately 40 commercial farms along the southern boundary of the Etosha National Park.

AfriCat North will be participating in the Etosha Boundary Lion Project which is due to start this year. This study will look at lion trans-boundary movements along the borders of the Park.

in the fieldlion research

The research includes studies on:

  • Reversible, safe contraception in captive felids at AfriCat. (download PDFby Prof. Henk Bertschinger
  • Deslorelin Reproduction Supplement (Induction of contraception in some African wild carnivores by downregulation of LH and FSH secretion using the GnRH analogue deslorelin). (download PDF) by Prof. Henk Bertschinger
  • Control of reproduction and sex related behavior in exotic, wild carnivores with the GnRH analogue deslorelin. (download PDF) by Prof. Henk Bertschinger
  • Detection of feline CORONAVIRUS infection in southern African nondomestic felids (download PDF) by Prof. Henk Bertschinger
  • The incidence of gastric ulceration and the presence of Helicobacter spp. in cheetahs at AfriCat.
  • Feline Coronavirus in African cheetah populations. (download PDF)
  • Post-vaccinal titres of antibodies against Anthrax.
  • Ocular abnormalities in cheetahs at AfriCat. (download PDF)
  • Comparative animal behaviour and management of captive populations.

Other research studies conducted at AfriCat or including AfriCat's assistance:


Other interesting AfriCat studies | news | statements | notes:

  • See: Contraception in Wildlife by Dr Henk Berschinger
    The ideal contraceptive for wildlife should have no side effects. It should be safe, also in pregnant females, have minimal effects on behaviour, should not pass through the food chain, be affordable and delivery should be easy – ideally allow remote delivery. In many cases a reversible method is preferable to permanent methods so that animals can breed again at a later stage.
  • See: Rescue & Release. Does it work? By Dr Mark Jago 
    If the suitable prey base is high an area may be able to support a reasonable number of carnivores, but if the prey base is low, the number of predators will also be low or leave the area completely. Prey will move with the rainfall. An area with much game today, can become all but devoid tomorrow if the rains fail to come.
  • See: Penta and Cubs - The Quandary of Rescue and Release  Penta and her five cubs arrived at AfriCat in December 2012. It was initially decided to relocate them to a wilderness area in the north-west of Namibia called Damaraland (Kunene Region). For the first time in our history of cheetah rescue and release/relocation, an independent farming community from a wilderness area was willing to allow a cheetah in the area even with livestock around; this was great news, but then complications arose . . . .
  • See: Applications of Technology in the Conservation and Counter-Conservation World.
    Technology has come a long way over the last couple of decades; appearing to progress at an ever increasing rate, it is hard to keep abreast of the latest advances in phones, laptops, cameras or TVs. Not only are new products being developed, the application of these products in a growing number of fields and scenarios is escalating, with surprising uses and innovative problem solving visible in perhaps unlikely places. Within the conservation sphere, certain technologies have enabled protection to become much more efficient and accessible. Using GPS data, geographical information systems (GIS) and motion-sensitive cameras (amongst other things) effective methods of tracking, monitoring and data analysis are now used which save on time, man power and therefore money.
  • See: A new approach to disease research in Cheetahs at AfriCat by Dr Adrian Tordiffe 
    There are about 8 to 12 thousand cheetahs left in the wild, and an estimated 1 400 in captivity, worldwide. The captive cheetahs therefore make up a significant proportion of the total world population and are becoming increasingly important as numbers in the wild continue to decline. In captivity, however, cheetahs are known to suffer from a number of unusual chronic diseases possibly caused by stress, nutritional imbalances, low genetic diversity or lack of exercise (or a combination of these). Over the last 20 to 30 years researchers have made little progress in developing a good understanding of the causes of these diseases. There are several reasons for this.
  • Cheetah Flies - Hippobosca Hippoboscidae
    The louse fly of cheetahs belongs to the genus Hippobosca within the family Hippoboscidae, but is commonly known just as the 'louse fly'.
    See: Cheetah flies and more flies
  • See: A Namibia Without Lions
    Can you imagine Namibia without Lions, if we had lost all of our lions to persecution, illegal trade and unsustainable off-take? Some farmers might say good riddance, others may be indifferent, but I am convinced that the majority of Namibians would regret not having done more to ensure the lions’ long-term survival.
  • See: Drought - A Natural Cycle but for Farmers its about Survival not Conservation
    Namibia is known as the 'dry country', where farmers were once familiar with its regular, dry cycles managing their livestock numbers and crops accordingly; many remember the '80's drought' during which thousands of cattle died of thirst and hunger, especially in north-western Namibia, commonly known as Kaokoveld. Conservation groups throughout the country are concerned that their efforts to guide and support communal conservancies into living with wildlife, especially increasing tolerance of large carnivores through education and improved livestock protection methods, will lose ground.
  • See: Radio-Collars & Research versus Tourism & Photographers
    One of the most distinct features the carnivores that live on Okonjima share - is that radio-collar each rehabilitated or researched predator wears. It is the one feature that creates the most 'talk' – controversial at times - between keen photographers, operators and the guests staying at Okonjima that have come a long way to experience the AfriCat rehabilitation project. It is the one 'sighting' that puts us apart from most other game reserves.
  • See: Bush Encroachment – De-bushing invader acacia in the Okonjima Nature Reserve. 
    Bush encroachment is a problem in the Okonjima Nature Reserve, as it is across most of Namibia, because of damage caused to the land by a combination of farmers over-stocking their land and failed farming methods, a lack of natural bush-fires and many years of low rainfall. This has now become the environment where the cheetah, who is a sprinter - has to hunt to survive.
  • Field age determination of leopards by tooth wear by Dr. P.E. Stander (PDF)

 

AfriCat Projects 2013|2014|2015:

NAMIBIA WILD DOG PROJECT:
A collaboration between Namibia Nature Foundation, N/a’an ku sê and The AfriCat Foundation.
The African Wild Dog (Lycaon pictus) is one of Africa’s most threatened large predators, and currently listed as 'Endangered' on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species (last assessed in 2008), with a free-range stock estimated at between 600-1000 packs (Lindsey & Davies-Mostert 2009; Woodroffe et al. 2004). Resident African wild dog populations occur in just 12% of their historical range within Southern Africa. However, 30-40% of the region is lacking reliable status and distribution data (IUCN/SSC 2007).
See: The Namibia Wild Dog Project

 

THE AFRICAT HOBATERE LION PROJECT
Conducting a study of the Lion (Panthera leo) population within the Hobatere Concession Area and movements between the Hobatere Concession Area, western Etosha National Park and adjacent communal farmland.
See: The AfriCat Hobatere Lion Project

 

THE AFRICAT PREDATOR POPULATION DENSITY STUDY IN THE OKONJIMA NATURE RESERVE
The assessment of leopard (Panthera pardus) density and population size via a capture – recapture framework in an island bound conservation area in Namibia.
See: The AfriCat Predator Population Density Study

 

Last Updated on Friday, 26 January 2018 01:41

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