Cheetah Conservation from the Cincinnati Zoo to Namibia

My title is Andie and I’m a senior cat ambassador coach on the Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Backyard.  I’ve been working with cheetahs for over 5 years, and whereas with the ability to prepare cheetahs and lift them to develop into ambassadors is certainly one of many highlights of my job, one in every of my favourite elements of my profession is with the ability to educate individuals about conservation, notably conservation of the African cheetah. That’s a part of the explanation why I needed to develop my conservation data and impression by doing a grasp’s program via Miami College. I’m at present learning biology via their Mission Dragonfly International Area Students program and had the chance this summer season to journey to Namibia for this system. I’ve at all times needed to go to Namibia for a lot of causes, however the principle motive was to go to the Cheetah Conservation Fund (CCF). The Cincinnati Zoo has partnered with CCF for years to ship college students there to study firsthand concerning the many alternative conservation efforts they’ve in place. And Cincinnati Zoo performed a key half in serving to to assist CCF through the years as effectively. Since at the moment is worldwide cheetah day, I needed to take this chance to share a little bit of my expertise on the Cheetah Conservation Fund this summer season.

I spent 10 days in Namibia studying all concerning the nice conservation work that’s occurring to assist save cheetahs there. A few of the work that resonated essentially the most with me was truly what they’re doing with canines. Right here in Cincinnati, we’ve got working canines with our cheetahs in a a lot totally different method. I wrote a special weblog all about our cheetah companion canines right here.

In Namibia, there are two totally different packages the place canines are serving to to avoid wasting the cheetah. The primary one is the scat detection canine program. Canines are skilled to determine cheetah scat with their unimaginable sense of scent. That scat is collected and introduced again to CCFs unimaginable genetics lab. The geneticists are capable of get a ton of perception into the cheetah inhabitants by extracting info from the scat like DNA and are then capable of have a greater thought of what the cheetah inhabitants seems like in areas all throughout the nation. After I was there, we received to see two of the scat detection canines do a coaching demonstration for us. It was so cool to see how effectively skilled these canines had been, but additionally how excited they had been to take part and efficiently do their job. The canines will exit with their coach within the area for hours and may discover cheetah scat that will be subsequent to unattainable for the human eye to identify. By having these canines, CCF is ready to have such a bigger pattern dimension of knowledge and are contributing to the conservation of the cheetah in a really distinctive method.

One of many different highlights of my time there was getting to satisfy the livestock guarding canines! These Anatolian Shepherds play an enormous function in mitigating human-wildlife battle. They’re positioned at farms round Namibia to guard farmers’ livestock from predators like cheetahs. That method farmers don’t must hurt the cheetahs or different predators on their land. CCF has a mannequin farm, the place farmers can come study to farm with these canines and CCF additionally breeds the canines to present to farmers. They’ve had over 715 canines positioned on farms. Because the program has begun the success charge of those canines has resulted in a 80-100% discount in losses of livestock to predators! I liked lastly getting to satisfy these cute big pups and seeing them in motion.

One other spotlight of the journey for me was the truth that the property that CCF is on is totally stunning. It’s a part of the Waterburg conservancy. Conservancies in Namibia are run by totally different landowners who’re dedicated to serving to to avoid wasting wildlife. Since CCF is actively part of this conservancy, the time we had been there we had been surrounded by pure magnificence and the potential for seeing all kinds of wildlife. The entire time I used to be at CCF we had been informed there have been two wild cheetahs roaming across the property. All week we had seen indicators of them, scat and tracks. One morning I received up early and noticed them within the distance down one of many roads because the solar was arising, which to me was extremely magical, however little did I do know on my final night time I’d be the one to identify them on our final recreation drive. Over 5 years of cheetahs laying down on daily basis in Ohio lastly paid off, we had been zooming previous them and I acknowledged their silhouettes on the bottom. I used to be so excited I barely had time to get out my digital camera, however I did handle to get just a few photographs of the boys as they made their method towards the attractive Waterburg cliffside over sundown.

Since returning to Cincinnati, these two cheetahs have additionally made a journey of their very own. They’re now residing in India. Cheetahs have been extinct in India for over 70 years till two months in the past once they had been reintroduced with cheetahs that got here from Namibia. Two of the cheetahs that made the trek had been the wild boys that I had the pleasure to see whereas I used to be on the Cheetah Conservation Fund. Simply earlier than scripting this I came upon that they’ve achieved their first profitable hunt, making that the primary cheetah hunt in India in over 70 years! Wild that I received to see them in Namibia and now they’re on a complete totally different continent making historical past.

I might go on eternally about my unimaginable time at CCF and their efforts to assist save the cheetah, however needed to share just a few private highlights from having the chance to be there myself. If you wish to study extra about CCF and the good work that they’re doing, head to and assist unfold the phrase about cheetah conservation via #savethecheetah

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