Communities that live alongside wildlife play a critical role in their conservation and the areas of Jwaneng and Ghanzi are known to be critical areas for cheetah conservation. Cheetah Conservation Botswana successfully established farmers’ networks in the regions of Jwaneng and Ghanzi two years ago to accelerate and facilitate the communities’ knowledge, improve skills transfer as well as connect them with helpful stakeholders. The Southern Livestock Farmers Network from the Jwaneng area was successfully handed over to the village of Samane on the 7th September 2017 at the village Kgotla (official village meeting place). The Kgotla was fully packed with the village Chief, his headmen, village elders, village development council, government departments and members of the community. It was a smooth transition and the village welcomed the network with open arms. Through all the speeches and comments made during the day, it was quite evident that the network has all the support it needs from members of the community to move forward. It was exciting to witness such a high level of commitment and praise from the Samane community towards the network and how some have benefited from being members of the network. The community is now more tolerant of carnivores and they are farming productively alongside wildlife by using inexpensive mitigation methods to control carnivores. They are also realising the importance of having wildlife in their environment - something they now believe they can benefit from. They day ended with a word of encouragement from village elders to their youth to hold on to their farming projects. Collaborations are essential and important for conservation success and it is very important to bring those who live side by side with wildlife into the mainstream of conservation. Only then, can we secure the future for threatened species like the cheetah.
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