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Newsletters 2012

alwag conferenceThe first African Lion Working Group (ALWG) Conference to be held in Namibia

The African Lion Working Group Conference 10+11.02.2012 – a gathering of conservationists and researchers establish the true status of the African Lion, discuss present projects and the way forward – action plans to ensure the survival of the species Panthera leo. The first ALWG Conference to be held on Namibian soil took place over two days at Okaukuejo in the Etosha National Park.

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lion rescueThe OKORUSU - AfriCat Communal Carnivore Conservation Unit (CCCP) collars 3 lions on farmland and reloactes them to Etosha

AfriCat and Etosha's collaborative Trans-boundary lion research project gained momentum with the immobilisation and relocation of three young adult, male lions on Independence Day. On Wednesday 21.03, three full-bellied, sub-adult males were seen basking in the sun on the dam wall of a cattle and game farm bordering the Etosha NP.

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london marathon 2012 mediumAfriCat runs the London Marathon 2012

I sit here typing this while continually reaching down to ease the pain in my left ankle , a bit of self-accupressure is helping with the healing process. . . . The discomfort of aching legs and feet are surley worth the fantastic occasion that has been the 2012 Virgin London Marathon. This is an event that many as a child would have watched growing up mumbling the words ''I'll do that one day'' with a Mum looking back with a reassuring smile while she does the sunday ironing!

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cheetah healthcheckAfriCat 2012 Health Check

Each year, the AfriCat Team including our supporting Veterinarian Dr. Mark Jago, successfully undertake a Health Check on the resident cheetah, leopard & wild dog at our Carnivore Care Centre based on Okonjima. The lions of the AfriCat North Care Centre will undergo a similar health check in June. The 2012 AfriCat Health Check not only involved Veterinarians, but also an effective, enthusiastic support Team (boasting the new AfriCat slogan: CONSERVATION THROUGH EDUCATION) comprising family members (Tammy, Donna & Janek), AfriCat team members (Chris, Werner, Richard, Justina), tour guides, Okonjima staff members, PAWS volunteers & the chosen STEPPES DISCOVERY volunteers as well as supporters from all parts of the globe.

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jagoJago 1997 - 2012

Jago was hand-reared by Anja, a farmer’s wife. When the family farm was sold, Jago came to AfriCat. We tried to introduce him to other cats, but unfortunately, having been raised on his own he never bonded with any other cheetahs. Jago was loved by many, because he was so gentle and no one could purrrrr as well and as loudly and with so much love, as JAGO could!  JAGO was 15 years old when he broke his toe in January - it was always going to be risky at his age, but after months of no healing and 2 courses of antibiotics, his toe healed but then flared up again and again.

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jimmy plane Obituary - Jim Maltman

Jim (“Wee Jimmy”) Maltman, was born on 3 June 1922. Jimmy, from Alloa, Clackmannanshire, in Scotland, was a long-time, passionate supporter of the AfriCat Foundation. He visited Namibia many, many times and his stays at Okonjima, Kavita and AfriCat got longer and longer with each visit.

Jimmy loved going along on carnivore rescue missions and he accompanied AfriCat on many while staying at Okonjima. He was equally happy, even at an advanced age, to fly in AfriCat’s cloth-hulled Maule plane, as he was driving 10 hours to collect a single cat from a faraway farm.

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reserve with signThe John Wolfe Legacy

A legacy left to the AfriCat Foundation by Mr John Wolfe has enabled the Organisation to make a significant contribution to the cost of protecting and securing a 55 000-acre private Nature Reserve - a joint venture with Okonjima and private donors. The benefits to AfriCat are two-fold; a chance to expedite its efforts in the fields of conservation, rehabilitation, education and research, as well as a return on its investment by securing a regular income for the Foundation from the revenue generated by Okonjima’s eco-tourism operation.

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tracking rehab cheetahAbbey, Tintin, Mulder and Scully

This sibling group came to the AfriCat Foundation in 2004 as orphans. As many of the other cats in the care of the foundation, their mother was shot by a farmer for killing livestock. Being around 8 months old when they arrived, they were never handled by people and that kept them fairly wild around humans. Originally they were not picked for the rehabilitation programme, but later it was felt that there was still more space available within the Okonjima Reserve for 4 more cheetahs. They were released into the Reserve on the 25th of October 2010. It took them about ten days to make their first kill and it seemed that they were on their way to success. Unfortunately, on the 17th of November 2010 Mulder was badly injured by an eland. The group was trying to catch eland calves and one of the mothers managed to corner Mulder on his own; he was badly gored by a horn.

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adult education 500pxAdult Education - 2012

"SPRING CLEANING" - Why Spring Cleaning? Because it is something instinctive in all of us, as it is in nature ... each year there are new leaves, new feathers and fur, new life, clean cupboards, new ideas, fresh concepts, changing attitudes ... and any spring cleaning starts at home! Consequently, this year our Adult Education programme has focussed on some of our adults here at home, on Okonjima!

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wild dog3Rex, Ruby, Raine and Ricky

Although Okonjima is best known for its work with cheetah and leopard, an unexpected request for help in 2005 saw the AfriCat Foundation offer protection to a group of orphaned Wild Dogs.

The puppies were found buried in an abandoned warthog hole on a farm where their mother and the rest of their family were killed by the local farmers, due to them preying on local livestock. Originally, seven pups were handed over to AfriCat (by the Ministry of Environment and Tourism), but due to illness, two didn’t survive. The remaining five were successfully hand-reared by painstakingly feeding them every two hours according to their weight.

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tammy etosha warden collarThe Okorusu-AfriCat C.C.C.P. Post-Rescue Lion Monitoring.

The rescue of 3 young male lions from a livestock farm adjacent to the Etosha NP on 21 March 2012, took place just eleven months after the AfriCat –Okorusu Communal Carnivore Conservation Programme (CCCP) was established and has shown that co-operation between farmers, AfriCat and Etosha Wardens can result in a mutually beneficial outcome. The AfriCat Trans-boundary Lion Project, in conjunction with Etosha Ministry of Environment &Tourism, aims to establish the frequency of lion movement across the boundaries of the Park, whether those relocated individuals return to stock-raiding as well as the number of independent populations existing outside of Etosha. This study will also establish the 'hot-spots' along the Etosha boundary, where lions more frequently trespass onto farmland, in an attempt at finding workable solutions to this ever-present Farmer-Lion Conflict.

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cccp program2The Communal Carnivore Conservation Programme (CCCP)

The 'Lion Guardians' of the Ehirovipuka Conservancy (in the Otjiherero language, 'Ehirovipuka' means wildlife) "Thank you for coming to help us save our lions" . . . .  with these words as greeting, I first met German Muzuma and Titus Turitjo, the AfriCat-Okorusu CCCP "Lion Guardians" of Ehirovipuka, a 1 975 km2 communal conservancy bordering western Etosha.

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africat care centreAfriCat's Information and Carnivore Care Centre gets a face-lift.

The first phase of AfriCat’s Information and Carnivore Care Centre is now complete and Team AfriCat are able to enjoy a brand new, spacious, and ‘slightly more private’ office with a wonderful view overlooking the Care Centre. The new office offers the team some privacy for meetings or when dealing with phone calls. The guests visiting the Information Centre and clinic will now no longer be disturbed by telephones ringing and ‘Radio-Okonjima’ broadcasting away while they are trying to concentrate on all the amazing AfriCat and carnivore information displayed across the room. It is intended that guests be made to feel more at ease and take their time reading about AfriCat’s work, rather than feel they are intruding into a busy office.

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otjenova kraalThe AfriCat - CCCP Livestock Protection Programme: The first kraal goes up in the Ehirovipuka Conservancy.

Ehirovipuka means 'wildlife' in the Otjiherero language and, in order to better protect this wildlife, which includes lions and other predators, AfriCat North recently began building the first lion-proof livestock kraal at Otjenova, a farming community approximately 10 km from the western boundary of the Etosha National Park. These farmers suffer livestock losses when lions leave the safety of Etosha in search of easy prey. Large numbers of predators are poisoned, shot or trapped by farmers, which to them seems to be the only solution to protect their livestock. AfriCat North offers farmers in the communal conservancies to the west and northwest of Etosha, a variety of effective techniques to better protect their livestock without destroying the lions.

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carrying calves to safetyKeeping Calves in Kraals may not be detrimental to weight gain.

A 2011 survey of Namibian cattle farmers showed the majority kept their calves in the bush with their grazing mothers, although the majority also believed kraaled calves were safer from predation. Perhaps this is partly due to fear that the kraaled calves do not gain as much weight as calves in the bush due to less access to milk and grass, and are therefore, less valuable to the farmer. Another study may disprove this theory.

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wahuThe Tusk Trust and the Daily Telegraph join in  . . .

Report on Spes Bona Primary School’s visit to The Okonjima Nature Reserve and AfriCat’s Environmental Education Centre. On the 3rd of October 2012 we had the pleasure of hosting 18 children from the Spes Bona Primary School at Okonjima and AfriCat’s Environmental Education Program.
The school is based in Otjiwarongo and caters for about a 1000 children from grades 1 up to 7.

For our VIP TUSK TRUST visit, we chose Spes Bona as it is one of the local schools and is one of the schools that the children who attend The Perivoli Okonjima Country School might move to as we currently only go up to Grade 4.

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africat okonjima daycentreWelcome to The AfriCat Day, Carnivore Care and Information Centre

TOURISM FUNDS AND SUPPORTS THE MAJORITY OF AFRICAT'S EDUCATION AND CONSERVATION WORK!
Day-Visitors will now be able to observe some of this programme's work and learn more about these endangered, amazing, and beautiful animals!
AfriCat has rescued over 1,070 cheetah, lion, and leopard since 1993 – 85% have been released back into the wild.

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taking down fencesPAWS Closing Newsletter

As you are aware, PAWS (People and Wildlife Solutions) has sadly closed down and ended a four-year roller-coaster ride of excitement, conservation experiences, bush clearing, fence ripping and tracking carnivores on foot. The reason for this was because we simply could not generate the revenue we needed to operate as an independent and viable project. Partially it is because of the world recession, which has affected tourism throughout southern Africa. Sadly we have also seen a substantial drop in our volunteer numbers from last year. This is largely due to the fact that we simply can’t compete with projects which allow volunteers to have contact with the animals. Unfortunately, for a lot of people, contact with predators is a huge draw. However, AfriCat does not allow this contact, as it is not in line with our vision of preserving and conserving the 'wild' cats.

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a rare rescue play The Perivoli Okonjima Country School Newsletter December 2012

2012 . . . .  ANOTHER EXCITING YEAR PASSED. Who can believe another year has passed and now Christmas is on our door step. POCS has made it – unscathed and flourishing! Since our last newsletter the final two terms have been very busy with plays, Environmental Education and preparation for all the students’ final exams.

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helen africat ee classIntroducing Ms. Helen Newmarch - Heading our Conservation Through Education Programmes.

"It is rather strange having to write about oneself . . . . but "one has gotta do what one gotta do" . . . . so here goes! I am Tammy, Wayne, Donna and Rosalea’s youngest aunt. Their mother, Rose Hanssen, was my eldest sister and my dearest friend. Consequently I spent a great deal of my youth on Okonjima with Rose and her family. Many long hot but happy hours were spent droving cattle when Okonjima was still a cattle ranch and walking home in the dark (no doubt past many leopards!) after putting our horses out in the paddocks. I have always loved being out in the "bush/veld" which intrigued me from an early age. This is probably due partly to genetics but definitely largely due to my mother, Mrs Edith Bagot-Smith, who always had time to stop and investigate and to ponder over the many amazing mysteries of nature.

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brown hyeana2012 Peak Season Summary

This report records the total number of carnivore sightings in the reserve from 1 August to 31 November 2012. A total of 544 leopard sightings were recorded, making up the majority of the carnivores seen in the reserve. The rest of the carnivores that are part of the rehabilitation project added up to 422. These included all cheetahs, hyena and wild dogs.

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cheetahs in the grassMixed Sucess. Baxter, Ruff, Tumble, Dizzy and Dash

All five cheetahs arrived at the AfriCat Foundation during 2008. Ruff, Tumble and Dash arrived as a sibling group from the Windhoek area where they were found at about one month old. Dizzy was caught at about eight months old, also in the Windhoek area. She was caught without her mother and siblings. Baxter was caught in the Okahandja area at about six months old, also without his mother. All five cheetahs come from farmland, where the owners used box traps to catch them. The five were introduced together in one enclosure as they were all roughly the same age. This formed a man-made coalition with males and females in one group.

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rossingRio Tinto Supports AfriCat

RöSSING / RIO TINTO SUPPORTING AFRICAT’S TEETH: In August this year we completed another AfriCat Annual Dental & Health Check. During these checks, a dentist examines the cats’ mouths to look for problems such as infections and abscesses, and tartar is removed from their teeth. If a tooth can’t be saved because of root abscesses, a local anaesthetic is administered before extraction as this can reduce pain for up to six hours. This year was sadder than most, because a decision was made that any cat that had to have all his/her teeth removed as a result of abscesses and where root-canal treatments would no longer work, would be put down instead of having to live the rest of its life 'toothless'. Last year we experimented with two older, but healthy cheetahs, both of whose teeth all had to be removed. The female had to be put down six months later and the male 10 months later.

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otjenova farmersThe Okorusu-AfriCat Communal Carnivore Conservation Programme (CCCP) Activity Report 2012

Word from the AfriCat Director, Ms Tammy Hoth-Hanssen. As a challenging year draws to a close, we reflect on how AfriCat has contributed to the conservation and protection of our carnivores. Have we reached our goals, have we succeeded in making a significant difference? Lions were rescued from certain death off farmland adjacent to Etosha; the same lions were recently seen with a heavily pregnant female in a park west of Etosha, their new territory. Leopards were collared and released in non-conflict zones and a farmer agrees to the release of a conflict leopard in her original home range; AfriCat monitors her whereabouts regularly. Cheetah female and cubs cage-trapped by a farmer and AfriCat is called for assistance and advice; these wild-caught cheetah have been released in the Okonjima 20 000 ha Nature Reserve, with a good chance of survival.

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adopt a spot bassi kidsAdopt A Spot!

The current world economic climate is such that people feel that charitable giving is a luxury. As a result, like most charities, AfriCat’s finances have been feeling the pinch mainly due to fewer people making donations. The donations help us with the general running of AfriCat, and also allow donors to adopt cats that are resident at the Carnivore Care Centre. In the light of this pinch, we decided to be more creative and invent another way in which donors could help AfriCat – one spot at a time!

We asked Clive, our Villa Manager and senior guide, to help paint cheetah and leopard silhouettes onto the dedicated wall at the Office and Information Centre – and either the team or the new sponsor will add a spot each time one is sponsored.

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cccp fence kaross blockAfriCat Communal Carnivore Conservation Programme (CCCP)

Fence Patrols. Observations have shown that lions leave the confines of Etosha and Hobatere through the porous boundary fence, either through the extensive elephant breaks and warthog holes or by clambering between the sections of weak, rusted mesh and steel wire strands. Domestic livestock herds are often seen lying in clearings or on roads adjacent to the Park fence, or are found grazing in close proximity to the said fence with water troughs not far off; on communal farmland, some villages lie within one kilometre of the Etosha border, where communal farmers have built livestock kraals either against or a short distance away from this boundary fence.

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