"Ultimately conservation is about people. If you don’t have sustainable development around wildlife
parks – then the people will have no interest in them and the parks will not survive." NELSON MANDELA
AfriCat UK is a registered charity whose vision statement is "Conservation, Environmental Education, Research and Community Enhancement". We predominantly support and raise awareness of the AfriCat Foundation (a registered Namibian not for profit organisation).
AfriCat Foundation HQ is based at Okonjima www.okonjima.com, a private, 200km² nature reserve, 50 kilometers south of Otjiwarongo in central Namibia, and the AfriCat North base borders, western Etosha National Park. The AfriCat Foundation was founded in the early 90's and formally registered as a non-profit organisation in August 1993.
AfriCat has since grown significantly and what started out primarily as a welfare organisation has over the years identified the need to include a focus on child and adult education and research as being essential to accomplishing our mission - the long-term conservation of Namibia's large carnivores and the enhancement of the surrounding communities.
Director of the AfriCat Foundation, Tammy runs the AfriCat North projects based along the South Western Boundary of Etosha National Park, Namibia. With a deep passion for wildlife since childhood, it is her wish to spread this love and dedication for our natural world far and wide. This is the story of a woman trying to ensure our Namibian carnivores, especially the Lion, have a future!
AfriCat UK was delighted to be a co-sponsor of the Bradt Big Cat Festival 2019.
The event saw AfriCat’s Patron Chris Packham as keynote speaker talking about the issues facing the conservation of Big Cats and the planet as a whole. Speaking eloquently and with passion Chris talked about the value and importance of conservation groups working together.
The world is in a period of mass extinction which is a direct result of our actions and despite the dire need for action and joined up thinking Chris remained optimistic for the long term future of the planet. The reason being that the human race is good at problem solving but not so good at prevention. He suspected there would need to be several major critical events that would galvanize the world into action. The fact that the threats from plastics are now better understood worldwide and ‘action’ being taken provides one example of how the balance is tipping. Chris with Paul Goldstein from Exodus entertained the audience with critiques of each other’s photo’s.
For more photos and a report of the day: read more >>
A wonderful evening was had by all who attended the AfriCat fundraising dinner at Queen Anne School, and the event has raised over £12,000 for AfriCat’s work with lions and the communities that live with them. Guests heard from AfriCat UK’s Chairman David Farquarson about the Onguta school development and the great news that the key buildings are now up, with the pupils and teachers starting to enjoy their new environment. Money raised from the dinner is going towards helping with the costs of the school as well as supporting the community lion guards who work with their fellow farmers to keep both livestock and lions alive.
Everyone enjoyed the chance to chat with Dame Katherine Grainger, Andrew Triggs-Hodge and Alex Gregory sharing memories of the London Olympic Games, discovering their rowing highlights and finding out about their new careers.
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AfriCat UK has been delighted with the response to Protect our Pride and many thanks for all the kind donations. We have very nearly reached the target set which was to enable the team to meet the costs of collaring and monitoring a lion for about 6 months. One of the roadside pride lionesses was recently successfully collared after a number of unsuccessful attempts. Lions have a mind of their own and do not always make life easy for the collaring team.
For the lions to continue to thrive alongside the local farmers funds are still needed to sustain the work, collar additional lions and keep the lions and farmers safe. To make a donation please click this link Protect our Pride. For those of you that saw the Dynasties Lion episode which showed the effects of poisoning on the lion family you will know how vitally important it is to work with local communities so that incidents of poisoning, trapping and shooting are reduced and ultimately eliminated. This is what AfriCat strives to do.
The Protect Our Pride Campaign focuses on:
You donation you will help pay for:
To support this project click on the following link: #Protect our Pride
READ MORE ABOUT THE WORK OF AFRICAT NORTH: The role of the AfriCat Lion Guards keepers of the wild is central and key to AfriCat overall success. The goal is to increase the number of lion guards and donations really help AfriCat and the community work together for the benefit of all.
More information can be found at AfriCat: Lion Guards
Carey and Janet Widdows from AfriCat UK recently came back from an updating visit to the AfriCat Foundation in Namibia. The AfriCat /Okonjima team pulled out all the stops to ensure we saw it all, learnt a lot and got a perspective on the goals for the future.
The initial night in Bush Camp provided a chance to experience the camp as many other guests do. The evening drive, having flown in that morning, was spent in the company of leopards. Rohan, our guide, expertly explained what might happen to reassure and prepare us for a lovely close encounter of Mawenzi (from the safety of the vehicle). It was great to then catch up with Electra and her latest now nearly fully grown cub. Being keen we booked to go to the night hide an option from Bush Camp and there saw wonderful porcupines, a spotted genet and two brown Hyaena - a first for us at Okonjima. The next morning up early we had a great drive picking up a variety of birds and animals to find Mundi resting in the morning sunshine, lovely. On the way we chanced one of the other leopards out exploring. Since it was a lucky day we then come across Harley finding a shady place to rest! Just demonstrating how a stay at Okonjima can be quite magical.
After a few days in Etosha National Park we headed up to the community owned lodge, in the Hobatere Conservation Concession, where AfriCat's northern project is based to spend time with Tammy and catch up with the work going on with the lions and communities. During an afternoon and evening drive we found the pride of lions and cubs being monitored by the project including the big male Sores, who keeps himself busy ‘looking after’ the Hobatere lodge and Etosha roadside prides. Indeed early one morning we found him on his way to visit the three lionesses we had spent two nights trying to collar! The ‘roadside pride’ had killed a Zebra near the campsite with a good proportion of the carcass remaining and in an accessible location it presented a good chance to dart one of the lionesses.
Raising funds for a GPS radio collar for AfriCat was chosen by the staff at Blair Drummond Safari Park as one of their different conservation projects this year. The Wild programmes support conservation efforts across the world and are chosen by the keepers. The animals within the Safari Park act as ambassadors for their wild counterparts providing a valuable educational resource for park visitors. Running themed days and weekends to highlight and support each project the Education team invited AfriCat to the Big Cat Weekend at the end of July. AfriCat was delighted to accept.
A very Big Thank You to Blair Drummond Safari Park for all their fund raising efforts over the year and donating a magic £1,500 towards the cost of a lion collar and the collaring process. AfriCat UK met up with the team in January for Stuart to hand over the cheque to Carey, Director of AfriCat UK. Discussions are taking place for further collaboration. Check out the events page for further details. If your planning your summer in Scotland make sure you include a visit to the Safari Park.
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