In August 2016, the CCB research team initiated a study in the wildlife management areas (WMAs) on the western boundary of the Central Kalahari Game Reserve (CKGR), looking at factors influencing carnivore occupation. The team used camera traps at 98 different sites across an area of 15000 km2, the largest camera trap survey conducted so far by CCB. Permission was granted by communities living in these areas and results of the study will be provided back to the community. As the area is bounded by protected areas, communal farming areas and commercial cattle farms, the goal of the study is to look at whether these land-use areas influence large carnivore occupancy in addition to distance to human settlements, available water and prey, and habitat. The study ended in December 2016 and camera trap processing is still underway, but so far the team has detected photos of all the six large carnivores (lion, leopard, cheetah, African wild dog, spotted hyena and brown hyena) as well as a number of smaller carnivore species and herbivores as well. This is great news for these partially protected areas in Botswana, as WMAs are often used as buffer zones to protected areas, both supporting wildlife and as areas for sustainable natural resource utilisation. Furthermore, they can be useful as a means to reduce conflict with nearby farming areas. Knowing that these particular WMAs show that wildlife is still present and perhaps thriving in these parts, as well as what influences their distribution, is vital for management and highlighting the value of these areas.
10 puppies were brought in from Botswana Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals for training at our demo farm on the 21st November 2016. One was lost due to an unknown cause in December 2016 and by mid February 2017, the remaining nine trained and vaccinated puppies were placed with those farmers in the Ghanzi area that are faced with depredation. The Livestock Guarding Dogs (LSGDs) are reported to be doing very well in bonding with their goat herds and protecting them from carnivores. Monitoring of the LSGDs is ongoing and CCB community team is impressed with the results. As a way of cutting down costs and keeping a manageable number of goats, 13 goats were sold at the beginning of the year. Such sales assist in maintaining the farm like buying vaccinations to ensure healthy herd and LSGD's at all times. Currently, our goats at the farm are at a total of 46 with two LSGDs which stay with the herd and keep them safe from carnivores. The herder checks the herd every hour to ensure that the herd is all together and accompanied by the LSGDs. The demo farm continues to serve as a practical demonstration area for small stock farmers on the use of a range of livestock management techniques to minimise depredation, optimize herd health and maximise production.
CCB Director Rebecca Klein presented at the October WCN Expo, raising awareness about our work to conserve Botswana's cheetah population. Watch the video here! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W7POFFwiidw
This is to inform you our lovely partners that CCB will be closed from the 23rd December 2016 and reopening on the 9th January 2017. It has been an exciting and eventful year for all of us and let us thank and appreciate you, our stakeholders and supporters.....we couldn’t have done it without your support and patience. Reflecting back and going forward, let us appreciate the abundance of wildlife we have in Botswana, let us remember that these precious wildlife needs us to help them survive, let us all come together and work towards protecting our natural resources and help keep our carnivore species far from the endangered species list. We wish you a happy and joyful holiday season and season’s greetings for 2017!