A Visit to the Cheetah Conservation Fund in Namibia

​I first heard about Cheetah Conservation Fund (CCF) from a fantastic post by Wayfaring Views and knew that I had to visit during my trip to Namibia. Founded in 1990, the CCF has created a set of integrated, evidence-based programs focused on saving the cheetah from extinction. 
​CCF is a nonprofit organization founded by Dr. Laurie Marker to help conserve the dwindling numbers of cheetah in Namibia. In the 1980s, thousands of cheetahs were killed, a large number by farmers who blamed them for killing their livestock. Dr. Marker knew that Namibian farmers themselves would be key to protecting cheetah and ultimately increasing their numbers. To this end, Dr. Marker began talking to local farmers.
I first heard about Cheetah Conservation Fund (CCF) from a fantastic post by Wayfaring Views and knew that I had to visit during my trip to Namibia. Founded in 1990, the CCF has created a set of integrated, evidence-based programs focused on saving the cheetah from extinction. 
​CCF is a nonprofit organization founded by Dr. Laurie Marker to help conserve the dwindling numbers of cheetah in Namibia. In the 1980s, thousands of cheetahs were killed, a large number by farmers who blamed them for killing their livestock. Dr. Marker knew that Namibian farmers themselves would be key to protecting cheetah and ultimately increasing their numbers. To this end, Dr. Marker began talking to local farmers.
Over time, Dr. Marker and her team created a plan that now includes:
1. Educating farmers – CCF educates farmers about cheetah as well as how to identify which predator actually killed their livestock. Cheetahs are shown to be responsible for only 3% of predation of livestock. Farmer collectives have also been formed in effort to further decrease human wildlife conflict.
​2. Dog breeding – CCF breeds, raises, and trains Anatolian shepherd and Kangal dogs that will help to protect livestock from predators. They sell these dogs for a small fee to local farmers. Their waiting list is now in the hundreds and hundreds of dogs have been placed so far.
3. Research – CCF contributes to the cheetah census, helps to locate cheetahs in the wild, and studies cheetah health, behavior, and habitat restoration. They are able to conduct their own research in their on-site genetics lab.

​5. Education – CCF visits classrooms around the country as well as hosts student groups at their site to help educate others about cheetah conservation.

​6. Environmental conservation – CCF understands the importance of saving the environment to save the cheetah and so they are committed to doing their part. For example, CCF removes overgrown native thornbushes and uses them to manufacture Bushblok, a high-heat, low-emission log to burn for fuel and cooking.

​Overall, CCF aims to change attitudes, conserve habitat, and work with the community to save Namibian cheetah.

FACT: An ultra-flexible spine, a tail like a rudder, long legs, and semi-retractable claws allow the cheetah to run up to 110 kmh/70mph. It is the fastest land animal in the world. 

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