International training continues at CCF
For Immediate Release
International Conservationists Being Trained
at the Cheetah Conservation Fund
Press Release: 4 July 2011
Contact: Dr. Laurie Marker - ph: +264 (0) 67- 306225, cell: +264 (0) 81-1247887.
Otjiwarongo, Namibia - For the past four weeks the Cheetah Conservation Fund (CCF) conducted its 6th International Cheetah Conservation Biology Training Course. Twenty-six conservation biologists from Botswana, Zimbabwe, Zambia, Ethiopia, Niger, Iran, Uzbekistan, South Sudan and India, as well as cheetah conservationists from Australia, Brazil and the United Kingdom, attended this course, which is supported by the Howard G. Buffett Foundation in cooperation with the African Cheetah Initiative’s Cheetah Regional Strategic Planning Partners.
The objective of these courses is to train conservation biologists throughout the cheetah’s range countries in proven methods of cheetah conservation, so that they can become trainers of these methods in their respective home countries.
“The course participants enjoyed learning about how to implement short and long-term conservation science to conserve cheetahs in their countries, as well as learning about some of the model programmes in Namibia that deal with human-wildlife conflict through mitigation tools used by CCF,” said CCF’s Founder and Executive Director, Dr. Laurie Marker. “This carefully selected group of conservation leaders from various range countries will join others in their countries that are tasked with securing a future for the cheetah. They took home many lessons from Namibia, ideas from their fellow participants and practical tools for conducting research and mitigating conflict to share with their communities.”
Lecturers included researchers and conservationists from CCF and other Namibian organisations, university lecturers from the United States and predator specialists from Botswana, who covered topics such as large-scale conservation, rangeland management, cheetah biology, management and feeding ecology, genetics, habitat studies, management plans, rapid sociological studies and human-wildlife conflict. In addition, practical sessions were aimed at providing skills such as radio-tracking, vegetation surveys, diet analysis using hair from scat samples, cheetah immobilisations and collecting biological samples. The group also spent time in Etosha learning about the management of Namibia’s wildlife.
To put their newly learned skills into practice, the group travelled to the Sesfontein Conservancy in Namibia’s northwest. At this location, trainees conducted a rapid survey of the area that included game counts, habitat description, and a sociological survey focusing on human-wildlife conflict with farmers in the conservancy. Additionally, the CCF team conducted short farmers’ training courses for the community members to help them deal with predator problems in their conservancy, thus providing the students an example. During the three days, the group also presented special programmes at the Sesfontein primary school to more than 300 learners.
The course participants will take back to their countries their knowledge to further the development of predator conservation. One of the course participants from Ethiopia, Bekle Tsegay Degefa, said, “the practical experiences I learned at CCF were very important for the work that needs to be done back home, including the rapid survey and census techniques as well as the conflict management, as in my country there is human-wildlife conflict because of the increasing human population.”
CCF has trained more than 200 wildlife professionals and agricultural extension officers from over 15 cheetah range-countries in the past three years during the courses on Cheetah Conservation Biology and Integrated Livestock, Wildlife, and Predator Management.
Cheetah populations continue to decline throughout their range in Africa due to habitat and prey loss. This situation is exacerbated in poor rural areas where subsistence farming practices can lead to increased farmer-cheetah conflict, with serious consequences on both sides. Cheetah survival is therefore dependent on educated people helping subsistence farmers to improve their management practices, for the benefit of all. CCF encourages the participants to take a unified and systematic approach to cheetah conservation including research, monitoring and conflict mitigation measures.
Photos (please click on the image to download a higher resolution file).
Dr. Laurie Marker teaches course participants biomedical practices on cheetahs. (c) Cheetah Conservation Fund
Cheetah Conservation Fund’s international conservation biology training course visits the Sesfontein Conservancy while conducting a rapid survey. (c) Cheetah Conservation Fund
• The Cheetah Conservation Fund, celebrating 20 years in helping to save the wild cheetah, is a Namibian non-profit trust dedicated to the long-term survival of the cheetah and its ecosystems.
• Since 1990, the organisation has developed education and conservation programmes based on its bio-medical cheetah research studies, published scientific research papers and presented educational programmes to more than 350,000 outreach school learners, donated nearly 400 livestock guarding dogs to commercial and communal farmers as part of CCF’s innovative non-lethal livestock management programme, and established a cheetah genome resource bank of cheetah sperm, tissue and blood samples.
• Research into cheetah biology and ecology has greatly increased our understanding of the fastest land animal and education programmes for schools and the farming community help change public attitudes to allow predator and humans to co-exist. However, despite the many successes of CCF programmes, the cheetah is still Africa’s most endangered big cat with ~10,000 cheetahs remaining.
For more information:Cheetah Conservation FundPO Box 1755, Otjiwarongo, NamibiaTel: +264 (0) 67 306225Fax: +264 (0) 67 306247E-mail: email@example.comWebsite: http://www.cheetah.org