"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) and The Namibian Lion Trust formally AfriCat North now independent and seeking registration as a charity.
The AfriCat Foundation is committed to the long-term conservation of Namibia’s wildlife. Its' mission is to make a significant contribution to conservation through research and education. The AfriCat Foundation is based at Okonjima Lodge, a private, 200km² nature reserve and is ideally located off the B2 between Windhoek and Etosha National Park.
The Namibian Lion Trust for Lions, for Life and for our future is dedicated to Panthera Leo. It is committed to the long-term conservation of lions working with local communities to reduce human wildlife conflict. It has developed a range of practical strategies that includes education, research and livestock management techniques and support. It is based on the western borders of Etosha and is based near the Hobatere Lodge.
The AfriCat Pangolin Research Project is the first of its kind within Namibia to focus on the ecology of the ground pangolin. The team would like to buy more equipment - camera traps and tracking devices - to help them find out more about these wonderful animals and how to help and protect them. The Okonjima Nature reserve is an approved site for the release of rescued and confiscated pangolin, but what is a pangolin?
Pangolins, also known as scaly anteaters and despite their dinosaur or reptilian-like appearance, are in fact mammals. They are predominantly nocturnal elusive creatures spending their days in burrows or trees resting. Once the temperature is ‘right’ for foraging, they begin to become active.
Pangolins eat ants and termites and help the ecosystem by controlling the numbers of these insects. While they do not have great vision, they do have an amazing sense of smell, with this they are able to sniff out ant and termite nests. They use their long sticky tongue, which is as long as the body and extremely flexible, to eat their prey. They use their powerful front paws to dig. Pangolins do not have teeth but rather a strong, gizzard-like stomach that has keratinous spines which aids in grinding up the ants and termites. While feeding they also ingest small stones and sand which also help grind up their prey.
There are eight pangolin species occurring between Asia and Africa and are covered in scales which are made up of keratin.
Pangolins are currently in big trouble. They are being caught in their thousands and sold mainly for their scales which are thought to have medicinal properties in traditional eastern medicine and as a delicacy. In just one recent haul 12.7 tons of pangolin scales were seized in Singapore which represents around 36,000 animals. This is just the tip of the iceberg. While trafficking is the pangolin’s biggest threat they also die as a result of vehicle accidents and being electrocuted on electric fencing. The loss of habitat, drought and persecution by scared villagers also has an impact on numbers and their future survival. They don’t have many natural predators as their scales are very protective when they roll into a tight ball.
There are different things one can do to support the Pangolin for example you could:
World Pangolin Day https://www.pangolins.org and we at AfriCat would love to see any pictures.
We want to thank you all for your wonderful support during 2019 and before, without it we could not have:
Watch this space for more exciting news coming very soon.
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