CCB hosted its inaugural charity Golf Day on Sunday the 14th September 2014 in a bid to create awareness, fundraise and engage local corporate organisations with predator conservation. The day started with a buzz of excitement as golfers arrived in the morning to start their game. After completion a prize giving took place. The golf club manger, Andre was the master of ceremonies followed by a CCB overview by Rebecca Klein. Lots of great prizes were available including an all-expenses paid trip to the Okavango Delta as the main auction price! We would like to extend our greatest gratitude and say thank you to all our sponsors who came on board to make the day a success. These include Wilderness Safaris, Barclays Bank, Gaborone Sun, Nashua, Taurus Batteries, Panasonic by ERS, Cresta Hotels, Haskins, Cappuccinos Restaurant and Pizza Bar, Cape Union Mart, Chutneys Restaurant, Fleur du Cap by Lengau Wines, Kgalagadi Breweries, Face and Body Care Clarins Beauty Salon, Mokolodi Restaurant, Kalahari Quilts, Pro- Stationers, Botswana Craft Marketing, H & G Advertising, Kwena Rocla, Feedmaster, Clean All, Parts Sales Botswana, Castrol, Peermont Grand Palm Hotel, Impression House, KPMG, Wessel Plant Hire and Ian Dickie, Sanitas Nurseries and Garden Centre, Sanitas Tea Garden, Botswana International University of Science and Technology (BIUST), Skip Hire, Gallery Ann and Vincent Grafhorst. Thankyou and we look forward to the next one!
One recent Sunday afternoon, we received an urgent phone call from a local game farm operator. One of his staff had come across a cheetah in a snare, he was on his way to the scene, and asked us to join him. When CCB staff arrived, the game farmer (who is also an Honorary Game Warden in Botswana), had managed to effectively immobilize the cheetah by wrapping it in blankets (don’t try this at home!), removed the snare, and moved the cat to a small cage. We collected the cat and brought her to Cheetah Camp to recover in our rehab pen. Kudos to game farmer Chris Woolcott and his staff (of Thakadu Bush Camp & Game Farm) for their fast and knowledgeable response!
Sadly, we later learned that a second cheetah had been shot on a nearby farm later the same day. And the third cat in the group was shot a week or two later. This last one had a severe snare injury to a hind leg, which had withered the leg to the point of uselessness (no doubt contributing to his habit of taking livestock), and he was also shot.
We have named the cheetah that was saved from the snare “Thaki,” in recognition of the role that Thakadu staff played in her rescue. Fortunately, she has progressed well in rehab, and we’re getting ready to translocate her to a new area where she will have “a second chance” at life without the potentially deadly conflict with livestock farmers.
Generally speaking, CCB does not endorse translocating conflict predators except as an absolute last resort. We take this position for two major reasons. First, we believe that in most instances it is possible for farmers to coexist with predators. There are many ways that farmers can improve the protection of their livestock and keep them safe from predation, and we do our best to equip each farmer with the necessary knowledge to do so. The farmer, of course, must maintain an open mind and accept that he and his stock CAN coexist with predators, and be willing to act on the advice we give him. Fortunately, many farmers do (but there are also those who do not). Second, successful translocation is difficult to accomplish and the record of documentably successful predator translocation in Botswana is thin. So, we are reluctant to translocate unless the situation has become desperate and it’s down to a choice between the near certainty of death by bullet or snare vs a second chance via translocation. Clearly, this was the state of affairs with these three cheetahs, with two having been shot and one nearly killed by snaring.
A satellite tracking collar is currently being fabricated for us in South Africa. Meanwhile, we have been in discussions with the Department of Wildlife and National Parks (DWNP) to jointly identify a suitable translocation area and release point that, to the maximum extent possible, meets the criteria outlined above. We will soon undertake a scouting trip to the favored site to be sure we’re happy with what we see on the ground, and to speak to the chief at the nearest settlement – about 50km distant from the proposed release site – to advise the local people of our plans. We will also inform them that, as a collared cat, Thaki is a research animal and we would appreciate reports of any future sightings.
We’re sure you will join us in wishing Thaki a successful translocation and a new life in a new neighborhood without conflict!
Cheetah Conservation Botswana (CCB) Education Officer attended the 32nd EEASA Conference held in Namibia Windhoek from the 8th-12th September 2014. The theme was ‘Reflections on the current and emerging Education for Sustainable Development (ESD), issues and the practices informing the post Decade of ESD framework programme’. CCB collaborated with three local NGO’s, to present a paper titled “Success stories of NGOs’ information dissemination on biodiversity conservation that lead to Environmental Education projects in Botswana: A case of Cheetah Conservation Botswana, BirdLife Botswana and Tshole Trust”.
The EEASA is a Southern Africa organisation established to facilitate environmental and sustainable development education within the region. The main goal of the association is to provide environmental education practitioners from all sectors with technical skills, a platform for sharing environmental sustainability information, opportunities, ideas and experiences in pursuit to protect the environment and promote sustainable living in the Southern African region. The EEASA conferences are held annually in different countries within Southern Africa. This was CCB’s second year as a member of EEASA and CCB Education Officer Ms Mathaba, was elected in the EEASA Council as a new member. Congratulations!