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Chris Packham visits AfriCat for the 5th time!
Chris Packham -- TV presenter, wildlife expert, photographer, author with a passion for conservation and AfriCat's Patron -- recently spent 10 days in the 200 km²private, Okonjima Nature Reserve -- documenting the work we do, our mission to try and change the way Namibians understand Human Wildlife Conflict and that the 'survival of carnivores' depends on a more, tolerant land-owner.
Interview with Tammy about the AfriCat Foundation
Tammy Hoth-Hanssen, Director AfriCat Foundation - is the public face of the Foundation in Namibia and internationally. Tammy's passion for wildlife and the 'bush' started out on the family farm in the rugged Khomas Hochland (the Highlands south-west of Windhoek) and grew to become a passion when her parents and siblings moved to Okonjima, where AfriCat was born. After studies in Botany, Zoology and a teaching career, she left urban life for the wilderness of Namibia's north-west where Tammy and her family bought a family livestock farm. Sharing a common border with the Etosha National Park, they found themselves within the human-wildlife conflict zone, losing large numbers of livestock to lions and spotted hyaena. AfriCat North was established, aimed at finding solutions to this farmer-predator stalemate.
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.
AfriCat founder, Wayne Hanssen talks 'Grassland-science'!
FILMED AND EDITED BY ITV, UK - © itv 2010. Taking Care of the Land: Wayne Hanssen leads the Okonjima team in a tourism venture that offers their guests 'authenticity' and 'luxury'. Funds are used for 'conservation', 'environmental education' and 'social responsibility'.
HIS PASSION: Is grassland science.
HIS DREAM: To turn Okonjima's 55 000acres of Nature Reserve into what it once looked like, before man destroyed it due to a lack of understanding the fragile nature of our environment.
HIS WISH: Is for the next generation that hold the future of this land in their hands, to learn from our mistakes and to 'BE the change they wish to see' in this beautiful country, Namibia!
AfriCat's Cheetah Rehabilitation Project
FILMED AND EDITED BY ITV, UK - © itv 2010 - Carnivore Rehabilitation: AfriCat's Cheetah Rehabilitation project was initiated to give some of our captive cheetahs an opportunity to return to their natural environment. Although hunting in carnivores is instinctive, many of the cheetahs at AfriCat lack experience due to being orphaned or removed from the wild at an early age. This inexperience, as well as their conditioning to captivity, makes these animals unsuitable for release on farmland. The cheetahs (usually a coalition of brothers and sister) are fitted with radio-collars before their release into the camp so that their welfare and progress can be closely monitored.
Monitoring AfriCat's Rehabilitated Cheetahs
FLIMED & EDITED BY ITV - © ITV 2010 - Tracking & Monitoring Rehabilitated Carnivores: Besides giving the cheetahs & other rehabilitated carnivores a chance to return to the wild, the 20 000ha Okonjima, Private Nature Reserve provides orphaned cheetahs & wild dogs with the opportunity to hone their hunting skills and become self-sustaining. The success of this project provides other substantial benefits: It gives us the opportunity to assess whether rehabilitation is a successful means of conserving an endangered population and it also allows for the number of cheetahs in captivity to be reduced.
AfriCat Annual Dental Procedures and Veterinary Assistance.
FILMED AND EDITED BY ITV, UK - © itv 2010. Each year, the AfriCat Team including supporting Veterinarians, successfully undertake a Dental Check on the resident cheetah, leopard, lion & wild dog at our Carnivore Care Centre based in the Okonjima Nature Reserve. This way, AfriCat's welfare, rehabilitation & carnivore programmes can assist long-term carnivore research, adding to the over-all conservation of the species. Also, when a carnivore is injured at AfriCat or in the Okonjima Nature Reserve -- local vets assist wherever they can with emergencies.
AfriCat Rehabilitating Captive Cheetahs
FILMED AND EDITED BY ITV, UK - © itv 2010. 18 May 2010 – The AfriCat Rehabilitation Prgm is back on track – the first 5 cheetahs are released into the 200km² Okonjima Nature Reserve. AfriCat’s Cheetah Rehabilitation project was initiated to give some of our captive cheetahs an opportunity to return to their natural environment. Although hunting in carnivores is instinctive, many of the cheetahs at AfriCat lack experience due to being orphaned or removed from the wild at an early age. This inexperience, as well as their conditioning to captivity, makes these animals unsuitable for release on farmland. The cheetahs (usually a coalition of brothers and sister) are fitted with radio-collars before their release into the camp so that their welfare and progress can be closely monitored.
Okonjima - Home of the AfriCat Foundation
West of the Waterberg Plateau Park, vast plains are occasionally broken by remnants of ancient Sandstone outcrops, which once covered large areas of northern Namibia. Nestled among the "Omboroko Mountains" lies OKONJIMA – a Herero name meaning “Place of the baboons”. This is much more than just a lodge. OKONJIMA is also home to THE AFRICAT FOUNDATION. AFRICAT became internationally renowned after featuring in an award-winning documentary filmed for the Discovery Channel in 1995 &1996.
Okonjima Nature Reserve
As sustainable development and conservation of earth's limited, but valuable resources become ever more urgent -- SO IS THE SYNERGY BETWEEN CONSERVATION AND TOURISM BECOMING MORE APPARENT! The symbiotic relationship which exists between The AfriCat Foundation and the Okonjima Nature Reserve is imperative -- without education, research and the mitigation of farmer-predator conflict throughout Namibia, the essential conservation of large carnivores would falter ... and without the substantial financial support offered by our foreign visitors, who stay in the OKONJIMA lodges, neither would survive!
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.
AfriCat & AfriCat North in short:
The 16 000ha NEW Okonjima & AfriCat's Rehabilitation Nature Reserve was completed on the 17 MAY 2010:
AfriCat – Rescue & Release:
Joost and I are very proud to present to you the Thika Travel Namibia film which has been compiled by our filmer Gertjan Straalman during our journotrip last December.
The film is 20 minutes and although the narration is in Dutch we invite you to watch this. The interviews we did are of course in English.
We both think the film gives a very good impression of what we had in mind: sustainable tourism in a beautiful country. Shorter clips will be edited for use on social media.
We only could make this film with your great support and we are very thankful for this. We believe it is a fantastic promotion for Namibia and our preferred lodges. Thank you very much again for all your efforts to make this trip possible.
We look forward to your feedback on the film: "Namibie, wildparken en Natuurbeheer" http://www.straalman.nl
"Carrying the spirit of Namibia" by Air Namibia.