Conservation - Conservancies
Livestock loss to cheetahs is an economic and emotional issue. Farmers perceive cheetahs as having an excessive economic impact on their livestock and wild game industries. Many Namibian farmers have done little to alleviate their problems in a non-lethal manner through appropriate livestock and predator management. By addressing the farmer-predator conflict through a conservation management strategy that benefits both humans and cheetahs, CCF is ensuring the species' survival on Namibian farms and has raised greater awareness of better farm practices.
PROTECTING CHEETAH HABITAT AND WILDLIFE PREY SPECIES
Wildlife naturally moves between individual farms, and so it is important to bring together the management of wildlife within a community. Farmers have contributed enormously to conservation, especially by helping develop different techniques for farming in a predator-friendly (non-lethal) way. Conservancies, on both communal and commercial lands, are collaborative partnerships of neighboring farmers who work together to develop and implement sustainable livestock and wildlife management systems. In Namibia, the conservancy movement is one where groups of neighbouring farmers jointly manage their natural resources and game to ensure long-term conservation of the land. Conservancies are one of the important solutions for cheetah's survival in Namibia, by allowing them and other wildlife to roam freely over a conservancy's land. Conservation is actively practiced ensuring the sustainable use of wildlife."
|Read this great article from The Economist about how conservancies are helping in southern Africa.|
At the national level, CCF sits on the board of the Conservancy Association of Namibia (CANAM)." Locally, CCF is an active member of the Waterberg Conservancy that surrounds the Waterberg Plateau Park. The Waterberg Conservancy, an area of 440,000 acres of private farmland, allows wildlife, including cheetahs, to move freely across the land. In 2007, a historic meeting was held in the Waterberg Conservancy to initiate the development of the Greater Waterberg Complex (GWC). GWC covers 1.77 million hectares consisting of freehold farms in the Waterberg Plateau Park and four recently registered communal conservancies, namely the African Wild Dog, Okamatipati, Otjituuo and Ozonahi Conservancies. Read more...
One of CCF's business initiatives to benefit cheetah-friendly farmers is Cheetah Country Beef (CCB). CCB certifies and monitors farmers" as practicing cheetah friendly livestock management. In return for being good stewards to the land and wildlife on their farm, these farmers are paid a premium for the beef they sell. To become a Cheetah Country farmer he/she must sign an agreement saying he/she will implement non-lethal predator control as to not harm or kill cheetahs on their farmland. Cheetah Country farmers are dedicated to the long-term survival of the cheetah. Click here to learn more about Cheetah Country Beef.
Conservancies at Work: Sandveld Conservancy
CCF has long held ties with the Sandveld Conservancy, which is found 140km south of CCF's headquarters at the Waterberg Conservancy. The Sandveld area has many natural resources including wild game and Devil's Claw (an indigenous plant that is harvested to be used in the perfume industry). The relationship between CCF and Sandveld started with occasional translocations of wild cheetahs into the conservancy, particularly onto Rolf and Marion Ritter's farms. Last year, CCF were invited by the Ritter's to conduct a camera trapping survey on their farms to investigate cheetah densities in their areas and compare these densities to those found in the Waterberg area.
From February to April 2008, CCF placed camera traps on the Ritter's farms to conduct a 3-month survey of the area. We spent 3 days initially surveying the area to choose our camera trap locations, and ended up placing camera stations at 12 locations, predominantly at playtrees (marking trees). Of these 12 locations, 9 proved to be utilised by cheetahs regularly, while we also captured photographs of other carnivores in the area including leopards, brown hyaenas and caracals.
Cheetahs can be individually recognised through their unique spot patterns. From all the photos collected during the three month period, we were able to identify 6 male cheetahs that were visiting the playtrees to mark their territory. Females only visit playtrees very rarely so we use a ratio of 1:1 to calculate our total population of adult cheetahs within the camera trapping area. When we compare the densities with those found in the Waterberg area, we found that Sandveld had 4.65 cheetahs per 1000km2 whereas the Waterberg has a slightly higher density of 6.8 cheetahs per 1000km2.
Click here to view photos taken by our camera traps at the Sandveld Conservancy. (PDF file)
Links to other Conservancies:
Swakoptal Conservancy: www.swakoptal.com