This August, Cheetah Conservation Botswana (CCB) conducted two back-to-back bush camps at our Tiisano education center, deep in the Kalahari bush in the Ghanzi District. In total, 63 students and six teachers from Kacgae and Bere Primary Schools attended the bush camps. Mr Thapelo Taukobong, a teacher from Kacqae Primary School thanked CCB for bringing their students to their first ever informative and engaging bush camp. He urged CCB to keep up the good work and encouraged us to make sure that such a good job is not done only once but continuously so that students do not forget about what they have learnt. The bush camp comprised of indoor lectures about the environment as well as outdoor games. The cheetah game, for example, involves the students role playing as cheetahs, impalas, farmers and goats in order to help the students understand the concept of human-wildlife conflict and how to achieve coexistence. All of the students were awarded certificates confirming their participation in the bush camps. They boarded the bus back to their respective schools with big smiles and big hopes of taking conservation to the next level.
CCB recently hosted an information stall for six days at the National Agriculture Show in Gaborone to distribute educational resources, and to engage with farmers about how they can achieve peaceful coexistence with cheetahs on their farms. The show ran from the 14th – 20th August 2017 under the theme, ’Practicing smart agriculture to combat the effects of climate change’. Officially opening the show, President Lt. Gen. Dr. Seretse Khama Ian Khama urged Batswana to reduce the food import bill by increasing Botswana’s food production. He stated that agriculture has been identified as a driver for our economy hence emphasis should be put on food production development and security. Farmers were also encouraged to use modern technology in their agricultural practices to address climate change challenges. Through all the dust and winds that comes in the month of August, the show proved to be a great platform to open dialogue with spectators and stakeholders alike about the toolbox of solutions available to minimise livestock losses by carnivores. By having farmers that see themselves as conservationists and who are able to adapt their farming plans to climate change challenges, go a long way in promoting coexistence and securing our food production and development for sustainable economic growth.
The Gaborone International Airshow, known to be one of the biggest shows in the Botswana Tourism Organization (BTO)’s calendar, seeks to demonstrate pride in the country and showcase its advancement in tourism, aviation and public events over the past years. On the 6th of August 2017, Cheetah Conservation Botswana was invited to exhibit at 2017 Gaborone International Air Show held at Sir Seretse Khama International Airport. But cheetahs can’t fly, you may be saying. Although this is technically true, we attended the event mostly to reach a broader audience from the southern regions of the country in order to share the message of coexistence further afield. Though, in an interesting side note – did you know that when cheetahs are running at full speed their feet are off the ground longer than they are touching the ground? It is incredible that they run so fast that they are almost flying.