CCB has been using and promoting the use of livestock guarding dogs for over a decade now and this technique has been bearing fruits for farmers across the country. Our outreach team offers technical and practical support to farmers on measures that can minimize conflict, such as training and placement of livestock guarding dogs and other livestock management techniques to increase awareness of ecosystem and improve livestock health. A partnership between CCB and Botswana Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (BSPCA) has seen CCB receiving a litter of seven puppies from the BSPCA on the 3rd of July 2017. The puppies are currently undergoing training with CCB small stock herd at our demonstration farm in Ghanzi and will be placed with select farmers to work as livestock guarding dogs in their farms. CCB’s Community Outreach Officer, Mr. King Modise is pleased to share that after just a week at camp all the puppies are doing well. The puppies are currently seven weeks old have just received their first five-in-one and de-wormer vaccine shots to eliminate intestinal parasites such as roundworm and hookworm.The costs of vaccinations and medical treatments are covered by CCB and are not incurred by the farmer. Thank you to the BSPCA for allowing us the opportunity to give these dogs a second change at a fruitful life of contributing to saving cheetahs and other wildlife from retaliatory killings.
The Ghanzi Agricultural Show is one of the biggest agricultural shows in the country and attracts spectators from bordering countries such as South Africa and Namibia. Cheetah Conservation Botswana hosted an information stall showcasing our activities on how we are promoting coexistence between cheetahs and the farming communities in Botswana. New relationships with community members were created and dialogues held were very interactive, entertaining and informative for both parties. We got to learn how communities perceive wildlife, especially carnivores; what problems farmers are facing, and the challenges they encounter when trying to coexist with wildlife. Community consultations and engagement proves vital to our line of work and such, these events form the much needed platform that allows us to receive updates and feedback from the farming communities, whilst providing the public with information about the status of the cheetah, other carnivores and the possibility of coexistence.
Informed farmers become the greatest farmers and the best conservationists because they are aware of how to achieve coexistence with the wildlife of their farms. The Southern Livestock Farmers Network (SOLIFANE) was established with the help of CCB in order to help facilitate information-sharing amongst farmers and allow them to make more informed decisions when it comes to their farming practices. On the 7th-8th July 2017, 13 SOLIFANE members undertook an educational trip to Ghanzi to meet and learn from Mr.Kevin Grant of Tiisa Farm Ranch in Ghanzi and to engage with the Ghanzi Small-stock Farmers Network. This trip proved relevant to connect the network members with one of Ghanzi’s most successful cattle farmers. Mr. Grant gave a very insightful presentation on the importance of rangeland management in modern livestock farming. He took the farmers for a practical view of his ranch, which is managed to promote long-term sustainable grass production. ‘We learnt a lot at Mr. Grant’s farm on rangeland management. We also learnt that as a group of farmers with one voice, it is much easier to reach great heights as long as we have common goals. We need all the support we can get from our communities, government and stakeholders like CCB to reach even greater heights,’ - Mr.Keolatetse Marambe, Ghanzi Small-stock Farmers Network. The groups of farmers from the network were also lucky enough to attend the last day of Ghanzi Agricultural show, which they enjoyed immensely. We are happy that these farmers are eager to transform their farming and improve their livelihoods.
Few people can consider packing up their lives, travelling half way across the world and throwing themselves into a conservation organisation in order to live and breathe the preservation of a threatened species. Even fewer would consider giving up their life’s luxuries for an entire year. And yet, this was the level of dedication shown by Gaelle Michel and Emilien Terrade, who finished up their one-year volunteer placement with us this week. Emilien joined our research field team where he was involved in several camera-trap studies, spoor surveying and capacity building of local staff. Gaelle teamed up with our community outreach department where she used her skills in veterinary nursing to assist with our livestock guarding dog programme, including developing a new training and health care procedures manual for all our livestock guarding dog recipients and expertly training our new cheetah scat detection dog, Loeto. Gaelle and Emilien have endured the harsh Kalahari heat, the dust, the winter whirlwinds and swarms of bugs so thick you couldn’t see through them. They have worked in some of the most remote parts of Botswana; straddling the edge of the Central Kalahari Game Reserve and camping where there is little but the sounds of lions to keep you up at night. We are thankful to Gaelle and Emilien for all their hard work this last year. We wish them luck as they travel back to their homeland of France and we wish them well in their endeavours in future. “This year was full of learning, good time and work of course! I feel lucky and happy to have been involved in this amazing project, which is a great contribution to the protection of cheetahs.” – Gaelle Michel.