CONSERVING THE WILD CHEETAH POPULATION OF BOTSWANA
PROJECT HISTORY & AIM
Cheetah Conservation Botswana aims to preserve the cheetah population through scientific research, community outreach and education, working with rural communities to promote coexistence with Botswana’s rich diversity of predator species.
Livestock Guarding Program Update
CCB has been using and promoting the use of livestock guarding dogs for over a decade now and this technique has been bearing fruits for farmers across the country. The outreach team offers technical and practical support to farmers on measures that can minimize conflict, such as training and placement of livestock guarding dogs and other livestock management techniques to increase awareness of ecosystem and improve livestock health. A partnership between the CCB and Botswana Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (BSPCA) has seen CCB receiving a new litter of seven puppies from the BSPCA. The puppies are currently undergoing training with CCB small stock herd at our demonstration farm in Ghanzi and will be placed with select farmers to work as livestock guarding dogs in their farms. The costs of vaccinations and medical treatments are covered by CCB and are not incurred by the farmer. These dogs have now been given a second chance for a fruitful life and contributing to saving cheetahs and other wildlife from retaliatory killings.
Scat dog training
Dogs can be trained to find animal scat and scats are a valuable tool in research as they can be analyzed for dietary intake, genetics and hormone-work and can be used for population assessment. A new pilot study is currently being undertaken by CCB, looking at the effectiveness of using a locally bred Tswana dog to be trained as a scat detection dog for assessing cheetah occupancy in private and unprotected lands. Methods for assessing cheetah is quite limited due to their general lack of utilisation of roads, thus making camera trapping and spoor surveys less reliable for this species. Scat dogs may be an alternative method that may be more useful in largely remote and poorly accessible areas. The use of scat detection dogs is becoming more widely used in Africa for detecting rare species like cheetah and we hope to use this method in Botswana in the future.
Motion Camera Study
CCB is continuing with ongoing studies using motion-triggered cameras looking at cheetah populations on farmlands, their preferences between game and cattle farms, their behaviours at cheetah marking trees and their use of artificial water points on farms. All this information helps farmers to manage their livestock and game to avoid stock predation, decreasing levels of conflict and subsequently retaliation killings.
Teen Club Bushcamps
CCB had Jwaneng Teen Club join in for a fun-packed week at Ghanzi Tiisano Camp from the 28th to 2nd December 2016 with 26 students and 7 facilitators. CCB had a busy but fun schedule ready for the kids. Kick starting the bush camp was a bird walk with a Birdlife Botswana’s representative, where the students got to learn about the different bird species found around camp.
Class room activities included lessons on ecology by CCB’s Education Coordinator, where students got to learn about the importance of ecology, food chain, habitats and many more as well as lessons on Botswana’s wildlife by CCB’s Education Officer. Outdoor activities included the Food Web game and swimming lessons. Wrapping up the week was a visit to Tautona Lodge for a game walk where students got to see the lions and a visit to Thakadu Bush Camp where the students learnt about vultures before visiting the vulture restaurant. Ending the day was an authentic, adventurous and informative guided bush walk with San people. To walk with these Bushmen and witness their skills as gatherers and trackers first hand, is a revelation not easily forgotten. These gentle people shared information of their ancient culture and how they used to live and survived in these arid areas. They shared their knowledge of making fire without lighters as well as the fauna and flora of the Kalahari.
HOW IS AFRICA ALIVE! SUPPORTING CHEETAH CONSERVATION BOTSWANA?
In the past five years Africa Alive! has donated £10,000 to
CHEETAH CONSERVATION BOTSWANA
A total of £28,393 has been donated from Banham Zoo and Africa Alive! in the past 13 years.
For further information on the conservation efforts to protect the cheetah please go to: www.cheetahbotswana.com