Namibia – Cheetahs Conservation Project

A dream? To look at a cheetah running fast across the african bush..

During my trip across Namibia I arrived at Solitaire, a little quirky town, near the Namib-Naukluft National Park, featuring the only gasoline station, post office, bakery, and general shop between the dunes at Sossusvlei and the coast at Swakopmund.

If you are interested you can read also How to organise a trip to Namibia.

Firstly I ate the famous and very good apple crisp at the bakery and then, on the other side of the town, I found the office of the Namib Carnivore Conservation Centre (NCCC).

The NCCC is the cheetah conservation project founded by the N/a’an ku se Foundation and the Solitaire Guest Farm Desert Ranch whose owners offered the use of their lands for the NCCC research project.

I enjoyed an unforgettable cheetah tracking safari with an NCCC expert volunteer who carefully explained us this unique research and education project and we had the chance to get up very close to some cheetahs.

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A cheetah at the NCCC’s sanctuary
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Cheetahs at the NCCC’s sanctuary

The problem originates from the conflict between farmers and wildlife, sharpened by the increasing loss of habitat: the local farmers view this predator as the greatest threat to their livelihoods and the namibian cheetah population declined dramatically as farmers do not hesitate to kill them.

The aims of this project are (i) to solve human-wildlife conflicts through the understanding of the territorial behavior and densities of cheetahs; (ii) to promote effective farm management changing farmer’s perception and attitudes toward cheetahs in order to facilitate a collective conservation effort; (iii) to teach how to rescue the cats caught in traps by farmers; (iv) to rehabilitate and release the animals into the wild choosing areas where they will be safe; (v) to host some cheetahs that cannot be released inside the NCCC’s sanctuary.

The promotion of effective farm management includes for example the employment of trained dogs and the dismantling of single cable fences: these cables are quite invisible for a running cheetah and they cause too many severe injuries to them.

During the safari our guide tracked and located the wild cats using a radio-telemetry: all the animals living inside the large protected compound are outfitted with transmitting collars helping to locate them through a handheld receiving device.
One of the best advices we received:
When you look for a cat in the bush do not try to see its entire figure but search for a part of him: a tale or a hear. Your chances will double!
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A cheetah at the NCCC’s sanctuary
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A cheetah at the NCCC’s sanctuary
the NCCC's sanctuary
the NCCC’s sanctuary
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