AFRICAT - WHAT WE DO
AfriCat is based in the Okonjima 22 000ha (200km²) private, Nature Reserve, 50 kms south of Otjiwarongo in central Namibia, and also has a northern base on the south-western border of the Etosha National park in north western Namibia.
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 education and research as being essential to accomplishing our mission - the long-term conservation of Namibia's large carnivores.
AfriCat: Short Overview
As an organisation dedicated to recognising, analysing and producing solutions to Namibian conservation challenges, The AfriCat Foundation works alongside NGOs, committed individuals, collaborating scientists, conservation authorities, and farming communities in an effort to fulfil its strategy for success.
AfriCat North Activity Map:
AFRICAT FOUNDATION'S MISSION: IS TO MAKE A SIGNIFICANT CONTRIBUTION TO CONSERVATION THROUGH EDUCATION.
We will continue to strive towards the long term survival of Namibia's predators in their natural habitat.
We aim to achieve this by working with commercial farmers, local communities, communal conservancies, any stakeholders, and the youth of Namibia.
AfriCat supports environmental education at all ages and levels of education, rehabilitation programmes, provides solutions to human-wildlife conflict issues and conducts constructive wildlife research.
Habitat loss is one of the largest threats to the cheetah, wild dog, lion and leopard populations in Namibia. Livestock and game farms in Namibia number over 7000 and spread over most of the country - the same areas where the majority of these animals exist.
The resulting conflict between these predators and farmers protecting their livelihood reduces the natural habitat areas where the animals can safely exist. With a shift in focus from cattle farming to a livelihood dependent on game for tourism and/or hunting, there has been an increasing trend where the predation of game has become the motivation behind the elimination of cheetahs and leopards. The perceived "problem animals" who in the past were removed for preying on livestock, are now also being captured for hunting one of their natural prey species.
General predator removal is often the "livestock-protection method" utilised by certain farmers who view all predators as "problem animals" and cheetahs and leopards are trapped, poisoned or shot on sight. In most cases an individual animal is responsible for stock losses and not the species in general and this indiscriminate removal leads to the unnecessary elimination of many innocent animals.
R E H A B I L I T A T I O N
AfriCat provides an environment for previously non-releasable large carnivores to hone their hunting skills in a 20 000-hectare (50 000 acre) (200km²) nature reserve, on Okonjima. Carnivores learn to become self-sustaining which gives them the opportunity to return to their natural environment.
This programme also supports constructive research.
Read more: Programmes - Rehabilitation.
Trial, Error and Kill:
Speed, elegance and rarity are words which describe one of our most studied carnivores. They hunt small to medium antelope (20-50 kg), warthog and scrub hares. Coalitions kill larger prey. The cheetah uses termite mounds and trees with low branches as lookouts. Once prey has been sighted, it will use a concealed approach, keeping as low as possible in a crouch with its head lowered to shoulder height, freezing whenever the prey looks up. It prefers to stalk to within 50 metres; the stalk is followed by a rapid dash and a very fast chase (up to 112 kph/70 mph and strides of 9 metres). Using its dew claws the cheetah trips the prey and ends the hunt in strangulation. If the cheetah fails to make a kill within 300 metres it must rest for half an hour before trying again, as its temperature soars during the chase and its breathing-rate goes up to 150 breaths per minute.
H U M A N – WI L D L I F E C O N F L I C T M I T I G A T I O N & C O M M U N I T Y S U P P O R T & R E S E A R C H
AfriCat supports commercial (free-hold) and the communal farming communities of northern Namibia, specifically those bordering the Etosha National Park, in dealing with human/wildlife conflict issues and predator intrusion. In general, instead of predator removal as a method of conflict mitigation, AfriCat offers farmers a variety of effective farm-management techniques to better protect their livestock. We fund and construct robust 'kraals' for protection at night and early morning, when 80% of predator-livestock encounters take place. We also encourage the use of herdsman to protect livestock during the day and manage grazing in a more sustainable way. These measures significantly reduce the loss of livestock, boosting the income of communities and therefore resulting in fewer instances of carnivores being shot, trapped or poisoned.
In this way, farmers are encouraged to become predator tolerant and most of the resident predators remain in place.
Namibia - King of the Animals in Danger
[German language video]
E D U C A T I O N
AfriCat provides Environmental Education programmes for the youth and farmers of Namibia by guiding them towards a greater understanding of the natural world and the importance of wildlife conservation. This programme will cover wildlife and sustainability, with a focus on the plight of the carnivores.
The AfriCat Environmental Education Programmes, has already reached over 25 000 children and young adults at the two Education Centres (AfriCat on Okonjima & AfriCat north, bordering Etosha National Park) and through the Outreach Programmes.
Okonjima and AfriCat are committed to their ideal of contributing to long-term Conservation Through Education. The 3 main aspects of our "Conservation Through Education" program are as follows:
- PERIVOLI OKONJIMA COUNTRY SCHOOL. (Kindergarten – Grade 4). This school aims to provide the best possible introductory schooling, with a strong environmental bias, for our resident children. This will facilitate their integration into a bigger main stream school after grade 4 with a sound foundation in environmental awareness.
Read more: The Perivoli Okonjima Country School
- THE ENVIRONMENTAL EDUCATION CAMP where visiting secondary school groups participate in an intensive environmental awareness program. "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
Our main objective is to promote predator and environmental awareness among Namibian youth.
After many years of working with the farming community it became clear that youth education was vital to the long-term conservation of large carnivores.
The AfriCat Environmental Education Programme aims to inform and empower Namibia's youth about large carnivores, conservation and the Namibian environment.
Read more: Environmental Education
AfriCat's Environmental Education Programme
Environmental Education: - "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 provides Environmental Education programmes for the youth of Namibia by guiding them towards a greater understanding of the natural world and the importance of wildlife conservation -- our main objective, promoting predator and environmental awareness among Namibian youth.
After many years of working with the farming community it became clear that youth education was vital to the long-term conservation of large carnivores. The AfriCat Environmental Education Programme aims to inform and empower Namibia's youth about large carnivores, conservation and the Namibian environment.
- THE ADULT EDUCATION PROGRAMME. We teach young people and farmers the livestock management techniques tried and tested in our Community Support & Conflict Mitigation programmes, where the broader economic benefits are evident. This programme currently has two main aspects:
- Firstly the continued work with both commercial and communal farms to co-exist with resident predators.
- Secondly we are working towards using our 20 000ha / 200km² Nature Reserve as a classroom for tertiary students at all levels; especially future farmers, teachers and decision makers. Furthermore the Nature Reserve is used to gather a wide range of data for current and future research which will ultimately contribute to the conservation of Namibia's predators
R E S E A R C H
AfriCat supports an ongoing collaboration with researchers, scientists and the conservation authorities by working closely with farming communities, allowing for constructive research to take place in support of the long-term conservation of Namibia's predators.
C A R N I V O R E C A R E
AfriCat provides a home, food and care for young, orphaned or injured animals until they can be rehabilitated and released back into the wild.
Only 10% of all the carnivores AfriCat has rescued - are with us on Okonjima and are cared for by the AFRICAT CARNIVORE CARE PROGRAMME.
For more information about The AfriCat Foundation please visit www.africat.org