"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.
World Lion Day is on the 10th August and AfriCat says 'Let Lions Live'. Lion numbers are crashing throughout Africa for many reasons; habitat loss, hunting, killing in reprisal for stock losses, poisoning, disease etc. One of the newer reasons is the lion bone trade organised in South Africa from where the bones are exported to meet the insatiable demand in China for their traditional medicine. World Lion Day 2018 is a chance to publicise this decline and attempt to reverse it.
To mark the day AfriCat has produced a new T-shirt design 'Let Lions Live' - available in children's, women's and men's sizes - that will feature in the campaign. You can buy these at the AfriCat shop.
You can help in several ways such as publicise the day on social media, organise your own event to publicise the plight of lions, work with those trying to reduce the demand for lion bones or send a donation to help save the lions such as to AfriCat's Lion Guards campaign.
We were delighted to hear from Jade that The Lions Monocle Cocktail Bar 56 Victoria Street, Paignton, Devon is running a Big Cats week 8-15 August as part of their tribute to World Lion Day. They are fund raising for AfriCat during that week by running raffles and other events. A spokesperson from the Bar said: "During the week we also plan to take photos of us and all our toy lions that we have - as we have many that customers bring in and donate to us". Why not call into the Bar and support their efforts during the week.
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 wonderful real Scottish welcome awaited AfriCat which included the more traditional nice wet weekend! Our stands (AfriCat and the Education Team) moved out of the rain under the shelter offered by the Macaque House. The AfriCat stand had a steady stream of visitors and staff. It was wonderful to meet so many enthusiastic, generous knowledgeable and concerned people. The keepers and education team were found generally to be leaving with their arms full of T-shirts bags mugs and other goodies from the stand, which all helped the fund raising effort. Our particular thanks go to Stuart, Katie and Sheila without whom AfriCat would not be building what we all hope to be a long term relationship. AfriCat looks forward to coming back next year.
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Working with Communal Conservancies - An opportunity to transform livelihoods.
The importance of working with the communities who live alongside predators and suffer loss of livestock has perhaps not always been seen as crucial to long term sustainable populations of carnivores but is essential. Isolated populations in parks will not ensure the survival of endangered species in the wider eco systems. In the northwest around Kaross, most Conservancies rely on subsistence farming, herding goats and cattle. They live next to a National Park with healthy populations of lion, hyena, leopard and cheetah. The results are predictable. Unprotected livestock is picked off by predators and poor communities struggle. AfriCat works with the Communal Conservancies to build strong kraals (livestock enclosures) to protect animals, to encourage employment of herdsmen and to manage grazing to improve grass quality. The impact on these farmers’ lives from small changes in practice and assistance in the cost of protecting their animals can be transformational.
The Onguta pre/lower primary school in the Ehirovipuka conservancy is located in the north west of Namibia (Kunene region) was a mobile school (tented) due to the far sighted headmen and his commitment to conservation of carnivores, AfriCat offered to build a school. Which will be developed over three phases.
Phase 1 - 4 classrooms and an allusion block including showers and toilets, phase 2 - Admin block including library and dining kitchen area, phase 3 - staff accommodation & boarding house. As most of the kids have to walk up to 30km to reach their classroom.
Phase one (classrooms 1&2 and 3+4) of the a six phase project: 'Conservation Through Education’.
AfriCat is raising funds to build schools that follows conservation principles and together we hope to encourage and inspire conservation-minded Namibians.
Read our page Onguta Primary School to follow all updates on the project.
Tackling human wildlife conflict is at the centre of AfriCat's work. AfriCat UK is seeking to raise the funds to buy and equip a mobile vet clinic.
The plan is to use the vehicle to help to:
Such projects illustrate the value of keeping carnivores in the wild as it is local people who directly benefit from wildlife conservation and work alongside other community support and education projects.
Donations can be made by clicking here. More information on the project can be found at www.africat.org on the projects and wish list pages. If you have fund rising ideas we would just love to hear from you: email: email@example.com
Recruited from the communities they serve the Africat Lion Guards play a vital role in supporting fellow farmers to adapt and adopt researched livestock management techniques and husbandry that have been shown to help reduce livestock losses to predation and help the farmer to build their livelihoods in a sustainable way. The Lion Guards working under the direction of Tammy at AfriCat North and with the backing and approval of the senior members of their communities help with a range of tasks from monitoring boundary fences to supporting kraal building. AfriCat UK is seeking funding of £25,000 to meet the costs for a year. Donations really help Africat and the community work together for the benefit of all. Do let us know of any fundraising idea you have by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org, all contributions go direct to the project and make a difference. More information can be found at AfriCat: Lion Guards