Wednesday, January 23, 2013

From Elephants to Cheetahs

Day 2: Cheetah Conservation Fund (CCF) near Otjiwarango
Today was another day of learning about conservation efforts in Namibia—last night elephants and slide show, today cheetahs with live viewing of rescued cheetahs.  It is interesting that another American has initiated these conservation efforts and her mission is to have livestock and cheetahs co-exist.  Dr. Laurie Marker is also a trained vet who used to work at the Oregon Wildlife Park, and came to Namibia 23 years ago and founded CCF.  Her efforts are to help farmers and her strategy is to raise Anatolian sheep dogs, originally from Turkey.  She breeds them and raises them with goats, so when the puppies go to farmers, they are used to being around goats and will protect them from predators.  They are big dogs and so many predators don’t even attempt to go after animals in the herd.  Apparently instinctively the dogs will fight to their death. There are a lot of volunteer opportunities here and I think if I am here for an extended period, I might volunteer for a couple of weeks.  The animals are so elegant. I would love to stroke one and except for one leashed cheetah lying on my foot, I haven’t been able to do that.  Laurie doesn’t believe in having these animals treated as pets—the issue is they can’t be released into the wild because can only hunt successfully if they have been trained by their mothers.  Many of the cheetahs at CCF were orphaned as cubs, or injured by farmers as adults.

Ready for our Cheetah Drive

One of two brothers that still hang together

We weren't a threat, and so both adolescents could relax

Love the face

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