"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.
http://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/fund/africatadoptabrick and help this drought affected community to build their lives.
Location: Onguta Village, Ehirovipuka Conservancy, Kunene Region, north-west Namibia.
The Onguta Primary School, in the Ehirovipuka Conservancy, comprises of two tents as classrooms, (the third blew away in a recent gale) 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. One teacher is trying to build a temporary structure in which to teach next term. 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 current school.
Tammy with Carey Widdows AfriCat UK Director and Trustee and teacher Miss Herunga discussing the situation.
The community has pledged to make bricks, they have located a site and started to clear the ground. They helped to dig the trench, across rough rocky sandy dusty ground, for the water pipes to a water tank donated by AfriCat. 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. A school playground was built by AfriCat in April 2015, materials donated by farmers and businesses (old tyres and metal poles), the painting and hard labour undertaken by 18 students of the Private School in Swakopmund.
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.
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An inspirational evening was had by all at Queen Anne’s School in Reading on Friday 24th October where guests were able to meet and chat with 5 members of the winning GB Olympic and Paralympic rowing Team. This included the triple golf medal winner Andrew Triggs-Hodge MBE, who auctioned the loan of his medals for a week. The other rowers were Scott Durrant who was in the winning 8 with Andrew, Zoe Lee and Karen Bennett from the triumphant women's silver medal boat and Tom Aggar who gained his brilliant bronze at his third Paralympics after Gold at Beijing.
Over a Q and A guests learnt that rowers: generally keep their medals in a sock; eat around 6 meals a day and train for 6 days a week. They added that there is a great team spirit and all the effort does match the rewards on crossing the line in medal positions! The evening included short presentations about both AfriCat and The Bruce Trust Charities who co-operated to organise the evening. Over twenty donated items were auctioned including a 3 night stay at Okonjima home of the AfriCat Foundation. The auction alone raised in excess of £15,000.
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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: email@example.com or tel 0118 935 1681