Latest AfriCat Statistics
OKONJIMA HOME OF THE AFRICAT FOUNDATION
1/07/1993 - 31/01/2013
OVER 1080 CATS SINCE 1993!
Okonjima Nature Reserve - Home of AfriCat
Conservation Through Education - Researching Carnivores & Rehabilitating Captive Cheetah, Wild Dog & Hyaena
Total cats rescued = 1080
Cheetahs = 690
Leopards = 378
Lion = 12
Total cats released/rehabilitated = 929
Cheetahs = 563
Leopards = 363
Lion = 3
% Cats released
Cheetahs Released = 81.59%
Leopards Released = 96.03%
Lions Released = 25%
Total % cats released = 86.02%
Total died / euthanased = 6.57%
Total % cats kept at AfriCat = 7.41%
AfriCat is able to continue the work it does thanks to the ongoing support of the TRAVEL INDUSTRY and LOYAL SUPPORTERS.
RESCUE & RELEASE:
AfriCat and other registered carnivore NGO’s (Non Governmental Organisations) like AfriCat, CCF & N/a’ an ku sê, have unfortunately become the dumping ground for carnivores accused of killing livestock. We have ‘saved’ their lives, but ‘removed’ them from their territories, thereby failing in our primary objective, which we had set out to achieve back in 1992 . . . not to remove the predators from their home ranges.
AfriCat has rescued and saved the lives of more than a thousand animals from farmland, of which 85% have been released back onto commercial farmland but this time into new territories, belonging to others!
In their new ‘territories’ they need to either fight for their new home or run the ‘gauntlet’ of the farmers’ traps and guns, back to their former territory.
We are therefore uncertain as to how many of the released carnivores survive this re-location beyond one year!
WHEN farmers capture cheetahs that they believe are attacking their livestock, NGO’s like AfriCat, N//a’ ankuse and the Cheetah Conservation Fund are left with the tough decision of what to do with these big cats?
Only between 70 – 150 cats a year, caught by farmers in trap cages are rescued by these NGO’s. How do we deal with these animals and what are the criteria used to decide whether or not to release the animals back into the wild?
"Living with predators is never going to be easy, but it can be done, as is being demonstrated by many Namibian farmers.
Removing cheetahs buys some time for the farmer and the cat, but ultimately, the key to human-predator conflict resolution lies in sound livestock and wildlife management,"!
Farmland captures typically take place at so-called "play trees", along fence lines, or in the veld using live or fresh bait. Mostly, these animals are captured because a farmer has suffered a loss or as a preventive measure. But sometimes they are sadly captured purely as a result of cheetah activity being seen.
Captures very rarely take place at a kraal and virtually never in the same time frame as an actual loss.
Since cheetahs rarely return to a kill, the captured animals are seldom directly associated with a specific loss, as is more commonly the case with leopards. Farmers rarely intend to kill the animals but just want them removed from areas where they are perceived to be causing damage.
It's all about livestock management. Exterminating the predator doesn't solve the problem!
CAPTURE: Most cats captured on farmland are caught at play trees - a tree where cheetahs regularly gather to socialise and play. This is an indication that the animal caught is not necessarily directly responsible for any damage. However, where and when a cheetah is captured is usually a good indication as to whether the actual cheetah that may have been causing livestock losses has been caught.
A cheetah captured inside a kraal is more likely to be the problem than a cheetah captured at a play tree, because multiple individuals with overlapping home ranges, as well as transient youngsters, visit the play trees.
Cheetahs captured at play trees are considered releasable, because this indiscriminate capture does not target specific conflict animals, but rather any cheetah passing through. The period between livestock loss and capture is also important when determining whether the right predator has been caught. Most captures occur days or even weeks after a loss. Radio telemetry data collected over twenty years shows that cheetahs are virtually never found on the same farm from one week to the next, with the exception of females with cubs under eights weeks old. Since home ranges overlap and individuals travel vast distances, (the average cheetah home range is 1 500 square kilometres) any significant time lapse between livestock loss and capture makes it highly unlikely that it is the culprit that has been caught.
The circumstances under which a cat is caught and whether actual livestock or game losses have occurred, are also taken into consideration when deciding whether or not to release the cat back into nature. If the capture is a preventive measure carried out in anticipation of losses, the animal is considered releasable. Cheetahs that attack livestock may be categorised as either habitual or opportunistic livestock killers. Certain cheetahs may develop a habit of killing livestock, and they will go as far as climbing into kraals to target livestock despite close proximity to humans or even the presence of dogs in the kraal.
Where suspected habitual livestock killers are identified (e.g. caught at a kraal) every effort is made to relocate these animals in non-livestock areas such as reserves. Failing this, they may well remain in captivity. Other cheetahs have been recorded moving through calving herds or in close proximity to livestock and ignoring them. Opportunistic behaviour occurs when a predator takes livestock occasionally, but does not actively seek out livestock in preference to natural prey. Cheetahs caught taking game in game camps, although causing economic losses, are considered releasable, as they are taking natural prey. Cheetahs under 16 months are considered non-releasable without an adult. However following rehabilitation as adults, cheetahs that have been orphaned at an early age could be released into controlled situations such as reserves. Where a cheetah's age, dental and physical condition are such that survival in the wild is no longer possible, it is considered to be non-releasable.
Cheetahs are not considered releasable when they have been injured to such an extent that, even with medical intervention, the injuries would handicap the animal's ability to hunt.
Cheetahs that are used to human contact are not considered suitable for farmland release, but would be considered for release into reserve situations.
All Namibia registered carnivore NGO’s do a full health check on all carnivores before they are released, and most are marked with ear tags, radio-colalrs or transponders. No cheetahs are released onto private farmland without the permission of the owner. Farmers who allow the release of trapped cheetahs are provided with information including weight, age, ear tag numbers and general release locations.
However AfriCat believes, ONLY ENVIRONMENTAL EDUCATION in the broad sense of the word will change 'old traditions and habits'. - BUT we cannot be species specific, for carnivores are only one link in the environmental chain. Only this concept exposed to THE NEXT GENERATION who hold the future of Namibia’s farmland in their hands, can and will make the difference.