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Friends of Conservation
101 St Martin's Lane
London, WC2N 4AZ
Tel: 020 3667 7017
Namibia's farmlands are home to an estimated 70% of the country's wildlife. As a result of CCF’s research, the CCF has formulated strategies for managing the conflict between cheetahs and farmers. CCF's work focuses on livestock farming communities in order to develop ways to reduce conflict with the prey species. CCF work with communities and farmers to show how they can coexist with cheetah populations to the benefit of both, thereby ensuring the survival of the cheetah populations on farmlands.

In order to reduce predator farmer conflict, the CCF has introduced and promoted various livestock management techniques such as calving kraals, calving seasons, guarding dogs, secure fencing and involving herders. By giving farmers alternatives and assistance in regulating the impact of predators on livestock, farmers are more willing to release captured cheetahs because the adopted practices reduce instances of predator conflict and as a result help protect both their livestock and the cheetah. 

The more involved CCF's Founder Dr Laurie Marker became with the cheetah, the more she realised that there must be ways of keeping cheetah away from stock. The farmers were either shooting or trapping cheetah and even those cats caught in live box traps tended to suffer injuries in their attempts to escape. Laurie realised that rescuing them fixing them up and releasing them was no solution. It was then that she came across the concept of guarding dogs, which have kept the flocks of Europe and the Middle East safe from marauding wolves and bears for millennia. She selected hardy breeds including Anatolian mountain dogs, which are able to withstand the rigours of the Namibian climate.  

Pups are placed with their host flock at 8 weeks old and quickly become integrated, apparently seeing themselves as a sheep or goat. Consequently, an threat to the flock causes these dogs to raise the alarm – generally the deep throated barking is sufficient to frighten off cheetah as well as jackal, cape hunting dogs and even leopard, but prolonged noise will rouse the flock owners who will come to the aid of the dog if necessary. This programme continues to grow, with this method of non-lethal predator control showing significant rewards. The numbers of animals taken by cheetah are falling - the farmer’s livelihood is protected whilst conserving the cheetah.

The CCF encourages farmers, teachers and the public to conserve Namibia’s rich biodiversity and highlights the role of the cheetah and other predators in healthy ecosystems.  The organisation has built close relationships with schools, teachers and their students, in recognition that the plight of the cheetah will, in the future, rest in the hands of today’s children.

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