By Mehdy Ghannad
Many people travel to Africa in hopes of catching a glimpse of any number of the vast array of safari wildlife. One of the most anticipated spottings is the cheetah. But without help from organizations like the Cheetah Conservative Fund the chance of seeing one of these majestic animals could become impossible. The Cheetah Conservation Fund (CCF) works to sustain the cheetah population and their ecosystems through research, conservation and education.
CCF is headquartered in Namibia, where the largest population of wild cheetahs live. They conduct extensive scientific research in the fields of cheetah genetics, biology, ecology, health, reproduction, human impact, and species survival. Although research of cheetahs is very difficult due to their secretive nature CCF is able to use advance census methodology and tracking tags, along with several other techniques, to study the species.
CCF implements a combination of in-situ and ex-situ conservation efforts to help protect the cheetahs. Their in-situ efforts include the Livestock Guarding Dog program and CCF Bush Project. The Livestock Guarding Dog program place Anatolian Shepherds with farmers to help protect their livestock 24 hours a day. The dogs scare away predators like cheetahs helping to lower the number of cheetahs killed by farmers protecting their livestock. The Bush Project aims to restore the cheetah’s habitat by selectively harvesting invasive bush that is then converted into clean burning wood fuel. Ex-situ efforts include removing threatening cheetahs from the wild and placing them into CCF’s non-releasable areas.
Education is one of the most important parts of CCF’s mission. Education and training of people all over the world, especially the locals help to protect the cheetahs now and into the future. The words “We can live together” are spread through the schools and communities of Namibia. The Research and Education Center of CCF has been regarded as the best cheetah education museum in the world.
Since 1990 the Cheetah Conservation Fund has been working to sustain the cheetah population all over the world. The staff and many volunteers dedicate their time and effort to see that this happens. To learn more about the Cheetah Conservation Fund or how to volunteer go to http://www.cheetah.org/.