It was the fourth day of November and the staff in Namibia was abuzz with the news that Uschi had finally given birth.They gathered around as Uschi, an Anotolian Shepherd, dutifully began licking, cleaning and preening her litter of eight little puppies. A litter of pups whose lives will be dedicated to the protection of Cheetahs. Even before their birth, the future of these puppies had been preordained. From the day they entered the world they began training for their life’s purpose. These adorable newborns will play a role that greatly impacts the cheetah’s survival.
The litter is part of our Livestock Guard Dog Program, just one piece of CCF’s holistic approach to saving the cheetah. Bred to watch over and protect livestock, these newborns will soon be given to livestock farmers to guard their herds, protecting them from cheetahs and other predators.
In the passing weeks since their birth, the puppies have opened their eyes and have begun eating solid foods. Each is developing his or her own unique personality. While they are with us, their contact with people is limited. The purpose is to minimize their bond with humans, so they remain focused on their guarding instincts.
The Anatolian doesn't attack a predator, but rather wards them off with its loud barking. That barking is usually sufficient to chase off a cheetah, which is a nervous creature by nature. Of course, if necessary, these dogs will fight valiantly to protect their herd. If the dogs can keep the cheetahs away from the livestock, then it is less likely that a farmer will shoot or trap them. The Anatolian truly act as a diplomat between humans and cheetahs, enabling them to coexist.
In just a few more weeks, after they have been weaned from Uschi, the puppies will be delivered to their new homes at various livestock farms. The pups will live with the livestock that they will protect, creating an inseparable bond between dog and livestock. Soon, because of support like yours, these helpless puppies will grow into fearless protectors of livestock and, in essence, protectors of the cheetah.
To encourage farmers to take on the responsibility of another animal, we give them the dogs for free, provide training and provide free veterinary care. We are able to do this because of contributions like yours
Laurie L. Marker, DPhil
Founder and Executive Director
It's springtime in Namibia, and in addition to a slew of baby goats, we've had two litters of puppies at CCF and a third is "in the oven". The first group was recently vaccinated and spayed or neutered and given out to farmers around Namibia. (The farmers attend Puppy Day at CCF to learn how to take care of and train their new charge.) The next litter will follow soon. After nursing and caring for these little ones for two months, we all grow attached, but we know they are going on to do the greatest work--saving an endangered species. These adorable little pups will grow up to be so protective of their goat and sheep herds that they will fight to the death if they have to. Luckily they don't usually have to do more than bark. We have three new females at CCF as well as an intact female in the southern part of the country, so we hope to increase the number of litters we have each year. Even after giving out these three litters, we'll still have a waiting list of more than 100 farmers. Thank you for your support of this critical project! Please spread the word.
Thanks to the support CCF has received for our livestock guarding dog program, things are going very well. At CCF's headquarters in Namibia, we have two litters of puppies on the way. The puppies are born and reared in the goat pen so that they bond with goats. When they are at least 8 weeks old they are neutered and sent to live with their new goat herds. Before taking their puppies home, their new owners have to attend puppy class so they'll understand how to properly use and care for livestock guarding dogs. We follow up on each of the puppies to make sure they are healthy and doing what they're supposed to.
On another note, CCF has received a grant to study whether a vitamin deficiency is related to the high incidence of squamous cell carcinoma in dogs in southern Africa. We've got to find a way to lower the incidence of this type of cancer so that the livestock guarding dogs can live long, healthy lives saving cheetahs. We will update our supporters on GlobalGiving as we learn more.
As always, thank you so much for your support of this groundbreaking program!
I'm sad to report that one of CCF's young Kangal guard dogs, Cazgir, died a few weeks ago. Cazgir had been imported to CCF from the United States to help build up the Kangal breeding lines. Cazgir was a victim of a disease that is causing serious problems with livestock guarding dogs in sub-Saharan Africa: lingual squamous cell carcinoma (or SCC of the tongue). SCC is much more prevalent in dogs in sub-Saharan Africa than in other parts of the world, probably due to damage caused from sun exposure. CCF is working hard to determine if there are other predisposing factors, such as nutrition and genetics, and we are also trying out various methods of early diagnosis and treatments. Because livestock guarding dogs are the greatest hope for the survival of cheetahs, we cannot abandon the program. We simply must find a way to stop SCC. We will keep you informed of the progress we make. In the meantime, we mourn the loss of Cazgir. These dogs are so much more than guard dogs to the staff. Thank you for your support of this very important program.
In 2010 we added four puppies to expand the livestock guarding dog breeding program at the Cheetah Conservation Fund's research station in Namibia. Aleya, the eldest of the four and imported from Germany, is now more legs than dog and promises to become an elegant Kangal when she grows into those legs! Chino--one of the puppies from the artificial insemination litter--is an exceptionally affectionate little Anatolian who greets us with enthusiasm every morning and patiently endures being checked for ticks. Our French duo, Firat and Feliz, have quickly become part of the dog/livestock family. This is especially true for young Firat who never wants to leave his herd and howls when separated from them. These four young dogs represent a bright future for our guarding dog programme, so their excellent progress as working dogs is especially encouraging. This year, we will continue to breed our adult dogs and hope to produce four litters: two from our Anatolian females, Uschi and Penda, and our first Kangal litters from Cazgir and Hediye. After her 2010 litter, Tylee was spayed and is now a staff pet. In her breeding days, she gave us 58 future livestock guarding dogs. If one guard dog can reduce predation on a livestock herd by 80-100%, thus negating the need for a farmer to shoot predators, imagine the impact she made during her "career." Thank you, Tylee.
Project Reports on GlobalGiving are posted directly to globalgiving.org by Project Leaders as they are completed, generally every 3-4 months. To protect the integrity of these documents, GlobalGiving does not alter them; therefore you may find some language or formatting issues.
If you donate to this project or have donated to this project, you will get an e-mail when this project posts a report. You can also subscribe for reports via e-mail without donating or by subscribing to this project's RSS feed.