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Lorraine Kelly

lorraine kelly 2014The Race is on - Foreword by Lorraine Kelly

"Anyone who has the privilege of seeing a cheetah moving swiftly through the African bush will never forget the experience. And yet it is a sight few people will see in their lifetime, because this most beautiful and ancient of cats is at risk of disappearing forever.

The cheetah is the fastest animal on land. The largest population of cheetah in the world, approximately 2500, is found in Namibia in Southern Africa. However, numbers have been declining and in 1993 a non-profit Foundation, AfriCat, was formed to save them. Today, on and around the farm Okonjima in central Namibia, the Foundation's dedicated and committed team is hard at work to ensure the conservation and survival of these and other carnivores.

AfriCat not only rescues cheetah, but also leopard, brown hyaena and wild dog and, where possible, the animals are returned to the wild. Animals that are too damaged to be released are given a permanent home in natural habitat conditions where they receive constant care and attention.

AfriCat conducts rigorous field research and has comprehensive education awareness and support programmes aimed at and for the local populace, particularly farmers and the youth of Namibia. In the last 12 years AfriCat has rescued over 800 cheetah and leopard, with over 85% of these cats being released back into the wild. Awareness-raising and education efforts may have reduced the population decline in cheetah and other large carnivores but much more needs to be done.

People with a love of the cheetah cannot afford to sit by in the face of the threat to these cats. If we want to ensure that others in the future may see the beauty in motion of these extraordinary creatures, or see them silhouetted against the magnificence of an African sunset, we all need to assist in order that they do not disappear altogether. Your help to AfriCat can and will make a difference."

Lorraine Kelly

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