Driven by the need to serve remote communities far from its International Field Research & Education Centre in Otjiwarongo, the Cheetah Conservation Fund (CCF) established a field base in the eastern part of Namibia.
Both CCF research and farmer reports indicate a decline of cheetahs in the country. CCF attributes this decline to multiple factors, including bush encroachment in the north central parts of the country, fragmented habitat, and an increased number of leopards which dominate cheetahs and thus push them out of their territories.
Located in Gobabis, the main farming town in the Omaheke Region, the field station is strategically situated with accessibility to the surrounding farms as well as the Otjinene and Okakarara communal communities. The focal areas border one another and consist of freehold, resettled and communal farms. The new extension of CCFs presence in Namibia is known as CCF East – Carnivore Conflict Field Station.
From this location, CCF will provide immediate support to farmers in response and advice as well as looking at management strategies to reduce conflict and encourage co-existence. CCF teams have built relationships with farmers in these areas and have begun ecological research on carnivores to help farming communities develop a better understanding of livestock, wildlife and rangeland management. This knowledge will help inform farmers and stakeholders to come up with solutions and create a balance between wildlife and livestock farming. CCF’s environmental education programme for schools will soon be more active from this location.
CCF decided to create a base in the east after noticing an increase in conflict with livestock and game farmers towards both cheetahs and African Wild Dogs due to severe drought during the past couple of years, which in 2019, Namibia’s President, His Excellency Dr. Hage Geingob, declared as a National State of Emergency. Livestock in particular have been severely affected as they have had to look for grazing further away from protective kraals and homesteads and in a weakened state have become easier targets for predators.
CCF also mans a 24-hour farmer support hotline implemented by the Large Carnivore Association of Namibia, of which CCF is a founding member, offering advice and a network of partner organisations also available to assist with HWC in different regions. The public is encouraged to use the hotline services on: +264 81 227 5139