"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.
Location: Onguta Village, Ehirovipuka Conservancy, Kunene Region, north-west Namibia.
AfriCat wants to support this pro-active community by developing a formal school. This work forms a part of AfriCat‘s Communal Carnivore Conservation Programme and Community Support Programme. We are very keen to create a better learning environment to help the children and adults in the community improve their education and thereby enhance their future prosperity in a sustainable way. AfriCat is committed to empowering farming communities in carnivore-conflict zones, to better manage and protect their livestock, to mitigate conflict and reduce carnivore persecution and has helped communal farming communities since 1997.
The Onguta Primary School, in the Ehirovipuka Conservancy, comprises three tents as classrooms, sand floors and a metal trunk for storage; extreme heat and dust makes for less than ideal learning conditions! Yet, the three teachers and community are dedicated and keen to educate their children as best they can. The traditional leader is a conservationist, and an exemplary leader. His aim is to offer schooling to 150 primary aged children. He is committed to the AfriCat Livestock Protection Programme (LPP) and is instrumental in minimising the persecution of large carnivores in his area of jurisdiction.
The community has pledged to make bricks, A Namibian Architect, who designs eco-friendly projects, has been approached to design the school in its entirety; local builders will be sourced to take on this project, under AfriCat’s supervision. Volunteer opportunities to help with the construction are being explored. The site for the school has been allocated by the Headman and his community; a school playground was built by AfriCat in April 2015, materials donated already by farmers and businesses (old tyres and metal poles), the painting and hard labour undertaken by 18 students of the Private School Swakopmund.
You can help in different ways and by doing so you will be helping the school to become a reality.
For example you can ‘Adopt a Brick’ by visiting the virgin money giving page http://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/fund/africatadoptabrick and making a donation or you might like to run your own fundraising event with your school or friends and family – do let us know so we can help with information or other things. Email us at email@example.com
AfriCat UK was delighted to attend Beyond the Steppes Travel Festival at the Royal Geographical Society London on the 17th and 18th September. There were a wealth of speakers over two days with a focus on conservation and adventure: keynote speakers included AfriCat Patron Chris Packham, Namibian film maker Benedict Allen and the explorer Sir Ranulph Fiennes.
Namibian film maker Benedict Allen
The conservation panel on Saturday night which featured Chris Packham, Tusk, and members of WildCru based at Oxford University amongst other gave the audience much ‘food for thought’. The discussion included the need to find a new way forward to protect the natural environment for the benefit of all the inhabitants of our world. As individuals we can make a difference in the choices we make. An urgent need to bring about change at a political level was identified.
The AfriCat stand featured information, a prize draw for a signed Chris Packham book and a print plus two new art works kindly donated to AfriCat. Fiona Goldman is featured kindly donating her wall hanging of a ‘lionesses and cub’
With less than 900 lions left in Namibia AfriCat’s mission to seek out approaches that support large carnivores to live out their natural lives in Namibia’s wilderness while taking into account the needs of farmers and local communities is critical if lions are to continue to roam free outside protected areas.
AfriCat North, based on the Western Borders of Etosha National Park, is the hub of AfriCat’s work with lions. Here the central AfriCat themes of research, education, animal welfare and Human-Wildlife Mitigation are in action.
The Lion Research Project in the Hobatere concession area that boarders Etosha National Park has identified a number of individual lions in the area. The GPS collars have provided invaluable data in terms of their home ranges, the number and frequency of their excursions in and out of the park, diet, social movements and can be used to help local farmers and communities know when the lions are in their vicinity. The project has been extended westward with more lions being collared to increase the understanding of lion movements and populations in the area.
Further details and project updates can be found on the AfriCat.org website:
See: AfriCat Hobatere Lion Research Project Update June 2015.
Read our latest AfriCat News PDF
AfriCat works with the different 'conservancies' in the area, on a Human Wildlife Mitigation Programme building relationships and offering a range of practical help to the local community farmers.
Research has identified a range of farming practices that can protect both livestock and lions. AfriCat North encourages and supports the communities to adapt their farming practices to 'accommodate' the lions and reduce their livestock losses to lion predation.
This is where the work of the AfriCat Lion Guards comes into its own. These men are elected by their communities and are playing a vital role in mitigating lion-farmer conflict on communal farmland. AfriCat North working with and through the local chiefs agrees a programme of support for the communities which includes help and advice, building or strengthening the kraals, education and community development in return for the communities willingness to stop killing lions. The AfriCat Lion Guards have been able to use the data from the GPS collars on the research lions to inform specific farmers when the lions are in their area. As community farmers themselves, they understand the pressures and issues facing the communities. Overall there has been a reduction in numbers of livestock lost and lions shot, which must be a win/win situation.
'Conservation through education' is seen as essential if long term sustainability is to be achieved. AfriCat North offers school groups from Namibia and the UK the chance to undertake practical projects such as building kraals and facilities for schools like bathrooms and playgrounds. Environmental Education programmes at AfriCat HQ run for local school children with the message that there is a way to accommodate both wildlife and people to the benefit of both.
There are hunting lodges within the region and while trophy hunting is strictly controlled, the example of 'Cecil' shows what can happen . . . AfriCat, the Lion Guards and the Human Wildlife Mitigation programme provide a way of reducing the risk of this happening.
At AfriCat HQ based at Okonjima lodge there are the 'ambassador lions'. Visitors to the lodge can view the wonderful animals, thanks in part to funding from AfriCat UK, close up but safely. The four lions have their own stories (which can be read at: adopt a carnivore at AfriCat's Carnivore Care Centre ) All were 'rescued' and are now old as well as habituated to people. Releasing them back into the wild is not, sadly, a safe option however they provide great opportunities for education and photography.
Funds are needed to support these programmes. For example to: buy GPS collars and other darting expenses, pay the Lion Guards, run the vehicles, buy materials for the kraals, maintain the lion hide at AfriCat HQ, feed the ambassador lions etc. Any funds raised will go direct to AfriCat - all UK staff are volunteers.
Donations can be made via our Virgin Money Giving page for AfriCat's work with lions.
Further information: firstname.lastname@example.org or tel 0118 935 1681