Botswana

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Farmers the key for cheetah future

Farmers the key for cheetah future

Farmers the key for cheetah future

The last century saw a 90% drop in the worldwide population of cheetahs, and now half of the world’s population can be found within the boundaries of Botswana and Namibia.

The survival of this unique and threatened species relies on the conservation of this population, however many threats continue to contribute to a decline in numbers.

Cheetahs do not compete well against larger predators like lion and spotted hyena, which means they pass up living in protected areas for land outside of reserves, where unfortunately they come into conflict with humans. Recent research in Botswana’s largest protected area, the Central Kalahari Game Reserve, indicated alarmingly small population estimates of cheetah, in contrast to very healthy populations of other predators. The survival of cheetahs in Africa relies on the preservation of populations that are found outside of protected areas.

The major threat to cheetahs within reserves is competition from larger predators. Outside protected areas, cheetahs face threats from livestock farmers, poachers and people catching cats for illegal trade.

Cheetah Conservation Botswana is working hard with the community to help assist farmers to identify which predators are causing problems on their farms (by accurate identification of livestock kills), and by implementing predator-friendly management tools to help protect livestock from predation, such as kraaling at night or using guard dogs for livestock. These techniques can be very effective at reducing livestock losses to predators, and it is known that once losses are reduced or eliminated, a farmer is much less likely to use lethal control against predators.

Community work and education can help spread the message about the important role that predators play in the ecosystem and can help the community to understand the value of protecting these animals. CCB is also involved in extensive research looking at everything from diet analysis and morphology of cheetahs to behavioural and ecological studies including how cheetahs behave on farmland, what they eat and how they interact with other animals.

By knowing more about cheetahs on farmland, CCB will be able to help the community to live side by side with these threatened animals. Coexistence is the only way to secure a healthy future for the fastest land animal in Africa.

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The Septemeber 2012 issue of the Zambezi Traveller focused on cheetah and the amazing work done in preserving this magnificent animal in the Zambezi region.

The Cheetah: An icon of the Zambezi
Focus on the Cheetah
Cheetah of the Zambezi
Farmers the key for cheetah future
Cheetah Centre leads the way
Cheetah Ambassador in Victoria Falls
Cheetah: the final frontier?
Spot the difference...

Read more articles from this issue:
Zambezi Traveller (Issue 10, Sept 2012)

Read more about the region in our destination guide:
Okavango