Friday, December 9, 2011
Namibia Day 15: CCF and travel day
One of my favorite places that we visited in Namibia was the Cheetah Conservation Fund (CCF). CCF was founded by American Laurie Marker who was so determined to do something about the possible impending extinction of the cheetah that she moved to Namibia and started up CCF. Apparently she started by knocking on doors of ranchers and trying to explain to the ranchers how they can co-exist with wild cheetah.
Now days the organization does a lot to help wild cheetahs. They have education programs for school children and ranchers and farmers. One of the biggest problems facing the wild cheetah is from ranchers that view them as a threat to their livestock. CCF's answer is Anatolian shepard dogs, who when raised with livestock will protect them with their lives. Cheetahs will not try to take on these large dogs(they are actually pretty lightweight cats and will generally try to avoid any fights) and so the livestock stays safe.
Namibia has the largest population of wild cheetahs in the world, and with organizations such as CCF helping local ranchers to co-exist with cheetah then there is hope that the cheetah will not go extinct in our lifetime.
If you happen to get to the Waterberg area of Namibia I highly recommend visiting CCF. They do have cheetahs at CCF. They are orphans that were raised at CCF after their mother's had been killed by ranchers. The cubs can't be released back into the wild because without a mother they can't learn all the necessary skills to live on their own. CCF offers, for a fee, a tour of the facilities as well as a lot of information about the projects they do there. You can also go on a drive through the enclosures with the semi to mostly wild cheetah residents(as they tried to leave the cubs as wild as possible even if they couldn't release them into the wild).
After our visit to CCF we headed down to Windhoek and the next day headed out of the Namibia via the trans-Kalahari highway through Botswana. It's a long drive and there's lots of cows on the roads to watch out for. Not a drive you want to make after dark!
I was pretty sad to leave Namibia, and would go back in a second. It was truly a beautiful and amazing place.