Help Dogs Save Cats

by Cheetah Conservation Fund
Play Video
Help Dogs Save Cats
Help Dogs Save Cats
Help Dogs Save Cats
Help Dogs Save Cats
Help Dogs Save Cats
Help Dogs Save Cats
Help Dogs Save Cats
Help Dogs Save Cats
Help Dogs Save Cats
Help Dogs Save Cats
Help Dogs Save Cats
Help Dogs Save Cats
Help Dogs Save Cats

Project Report | Sep 22, 2020
30 Years of Black Gold

By Cheetah Conservation Fund | CCF Staff

Collecting scat samples
Collecting scat samples

For the past 30 years, the Cheetah Conservation Fund (CCF) has been working closely with the Namibian livestock farming community to find ways to co-exist with cheetahs and other predators. The Namibian farming community is crucial for the survival of the cheetah, as the majority (90%) of the country’s cheetahs live outside of protected areas on our farmlands. CCF’s three pillars of Research, Education and Conservation are the foundation of our mission to ensure a long-term solution to reduce human-wildlife conflict and allow sustainable and profitable integrated management on Namibia’s farmlands.

With less than 7,500 cheetahs remaining worldwide in 23 countries, Namibia’s cheetah population of approximately 1,500 mature individuals, is the largest remaining along with that of Botswana, and is considered the last stronghold for the species. However, the population in Namibia has been declining over the last decades due to human wildlife conflict, loss of habitat, increase of game fencing and bush-encroachment. The species also lacks genetic diversity from historic low numbers, which, in combination with the small size of the fragmented populations throughout its range, cause even greater concerns for the survival of the species. 

Scientists at CCF’s “Life Technologies Conservation Genetics Laboratory”, which is located at the CCF Research and Education Centre in Otjiwarongo, can identify individual animals and their degree of relatedness. This information is stored in the cheetah’s DNA, which we can be extract out of the cells of the animals’ blood, tissue and faeces or ‘scat’ (we call it Black Gold!). But these samples are difficult to come by and we would like your help to learn more about our Namibian cheetahs and other predators.

To help CCF scientists find cheetah scat, CCF founded the Scat Detection Dog Programme in 2009. Our specially trained dogs are able to sniff out cheetah scat and point it out to their handlers. The programme is run by Tim Hofmann who works with three professionally trained dogs: Ole (Weimaraner), Enyakwa and Gamena (Belgian Malinoises). Tim and his dogs regularly travel within Namibia to visit farms to find scat from cheetah and other predators. The dogs are doing a great job! But even for these four-legged team members finding cheetah scat is a challenge, as cheetahs inhabit large areas (~1,500km2 home range) and with populations continually decreasing, there aren’t that many samples to be found. 

It is for this reason that we work so closely with the farmers, as their in-depth knowledge of their land, wildlife, and cheetah activity, including tracks and scat, leads to the success of our team. Many of the samples we find are at what are known to the farming community as cheetah ‘playtrees’. Cheetahs are known to use these marking sites and regularly visit them to leave ‘messages’ for other cheetahs in the form of urine and scat. Finding these trees can be of great help to establish a more long-term monitoring of the animals. And if we can find more scat then we can learn more about these animals.

As the stewards of the Namibian farmlands, the more we know about our animals, the better we can learn to ‘live together’. CCF and our scat detection dog team would like to work closer with the farming community to learn more about ‘your’ cheetahs and help make a future together.

Scat Detection Dog Enkyawa performs a sniff test
Scat Detection Dog Enkyawa performs a sniff test
CCF Staff Tim Hofmann and Scat Detection Dog Ole
CCF Staff Tim Hofmann and Scat Detection Dog Ole

Links:

Share on Twitter Share on Facebook

About Project Reports

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 can recieve an email when this project posts a report. You can also subscribe for reports without donating.

Sign up for updates

Organization Information

Cheetah Conservation Fund

Location: Alexandria, VA - USA
Website:
Facebook: Facebook Page
Twitter: @Cheetah Conservation
Project Leader:
Beth Fellenstein
Dr.
Alexandria , VA United States

Learn more about GlobalGiving

Teenage Science Students
Vetting +
Due Diligence

Snorkeler
Our
Impact

Woman Holding a Gift Card
Give
Gift Cards

Young Girl with a Bicycle
GlobalGiving
Guarantee

Get incredible stories, promotions, and matching offers in your inbox

WARNING: Javascript is currently disabled or is not available in your browser. GlobalGiving makes extensive use of Javascript and will not function properly with Javascript disabled. Please enable Javascript and refresh this page.