A further step towards conservation of cheetah was made recently as Cheetah Conservation Botswana released a female cheetah with a GPS-ARGOS tracking collar. The female cheetah, nick-named Marjatta, was caught by CCB staff on a game farm neighbouring CCB’s Ghanzi camp. She was a mother of three nearly grown cubs and exactly the kind of animal we have been seeking to collar for some time. Marjatta was collared and released at the capture site to avoid the undue stress of capturing all of her cubs. The cubs faithfully stayed around the area while mum was being detained. Thanks to her stylish new collar CCB staff will monitor Marjatta’s movements over the next two years to better understand how cheetah use the Ghanzi farm area and better inform our conservation message.
Just after midday on Saturday the 8th of October, staff at Cheetah Conservation Botswana’s Ghanzi camp received word that a huge column of smoke was heading their way. A brief investigation confirmed that a large wildfire had passed through from the neighbouring property and was heading towards the Research Camp and the Education Bush Camp! Many hasty phone calls were made and our neighbours swung into action, bringing equipment and knowledge to help protect our valuable buildings and resources. CCB staff and neighbours battled the flames by back burning fire brakes and fighting the waves of fire with water and soil. The work continued into the early evening as we all aimed to try to make everything safe; before retiring to a worried half-sleep. The night passed uneventfully, but the next day another fire came sweeping in, with our buildings safe due to the previous nights efforts some staff went to help our neighbours keep the fire contained while others stayed in camp to prevent the fire crossing our centre road and marching on to other farms. With hard work and lucky wind shifts the fires were out by mid afternoon. Unfortunately this was not to be our last fire for the season. The next Tuesday welding sparks from a contractor repairing our solar electricity system started yet another fire on our farm. The staff swung into action again and our wonderful neighbours came to our aid once more. Together we put our new fire fighting skills and experience to good use and we kept the fire contained in a small area where it quickly burnt out. With luck the rains will come soon and our ash covered farm will turn green again. We have learnt a lot about fire management in the Kalahari but are all looking forward to a fire-free rainy season!
CCB education team attended and exhibited a stall at Mokolodi Nature Reserve, on the 6th of June 2016 to commemorate World Environment Day. The day was held at under the theme “Zero Tolerance for the Illegal wildlife Trade”, and presentations for the day were mainly focused on the theme. Department of Wildlife and National Parks gave a seminar on elephants and their vulnerability in the environment including laws, policies and penalties, Birdlife Botswana shared some light on cape vultures and their vulnerability state in Botswana, while the Department of Forestry and Natural Resource Management focused on the flora and how most people wipe out trees for firewood and export it to other countries. Khama Rhino Sanctuary shared their holistic approach towards rhino conservation in the country and Mokolodi Nature Reserve concluded by highlighting their mission and focus on environmental education. The event was organized by the Department of Environmental Affairs, with invitations extended to different Governmental Departments, local NGOs and the corporate sector to share, discuss and network.