URGENT STATEMENT

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NO HUMAN-WILDLIFE CONTACT!

An increasing number of tourism lodges and volunteer programmes are holding cheetahs, leopards and other wild animals in captivity for entertainment purposes. OKONJIMA supports the conservation of wild animals IN THEIR NATURAL HABITAT!

The practice of catching cheetahs in the wild for captivity is causing a drain on the wild population. Revenue earned through showing these captive cheetahs at lodges rarely goes back into conservation practices. THE AFRICAT FOUNDATION has also had to take on a large number of unwanted cheetahs, when lodge owners or farmers decide that they are not worth keeping.

It is OKONJIMA’S long–term aim, to encourage viewing of large carnivores in the wild, rather than in a captive environment. ‘Walking with cheetahs and lions’ – ‘touching and cuddling cubs’ or any direct human–animal contact – are detrimental to this long–term approach of only viewing carnivores in the wild and is not supported or encouraged on Okonjima or at AfriCat.

Guests visiting OKONJIMA will still be visiting THE AFRICAT FOUNDATION and learning about large carnivores in the wild like cheetah, leopard and lion, but in a constructive manner.

OKONJIMA ANIMAL WARNING!

  • Under NO circumstances should animals be fed! (except birds from the room; birdseed is provided at The Villa, Bush Suite & Bush Camp)
  • Open food in the room, citrus and sweets can cause problems with baboons, badgers, mice, etc
  • If baboons are fed or food is readily available, they develop bad habits and will often attack if they don’t get more/find food. Sadly they often have to be put down!
  • OKONJIMA can honestly say that we have had NO problems with baboons or other wild animals, scavenging for food around our lodges. All kitchen ‘left-overs’ are offered to nocturnal animals such as porcupine and honey-badgers at our night hides. These animals are NOT dependent on this food, but see this as an ‘easy meal’. Travellers in Namibia do not often have the opportunity to see nocturnal animals, but guests are under no obligation to join this activity.

OKONJIMA WILDLIFE:

  • Leopard, Cheetah, Caracal, African Wild Cat, Brown & Spotted Hyaena, Black-backed Jackal, Aardwolf, Bat-eared Fox, Aardvark, Pangolin, Honey-badger, Porcupine, Large & Small Spotted Genet, Striped Polecat, Kudu, Oryx, Red Hartebeest, Gnu or Blue Wildebeest, Eland, Impala, Giraffe, Hartmann’s (Mountain) Zebra, Burchell’s Zebra, Steenbok, Common Duiker, Damara Dik-Dik, Warthog, Chacma Baboon, Rock Hyrax, Jameson’s Red Rock Rabbit, Springhare, Scrub Hare, Ground Squirrel, Dwarf, Slender, Yellow & Banded Mongoose to name the most common species. {at present – the Lion are part of The AfriCat Carnivore Care Project.}
  • Over 250 bird species have been identified on OKONJIMA, including some Namibian endemics such as the Carp’s Tit, Hartlaub’s Francolin and the (Damara) Rock Runner and more.
  • [The AfriCat Carnivore Care Project is also home to Lion, Leopard and Caracal.]
  • The WILD DOGS have been successfully rehabilitated into the 200 km² private Reserve.

OKONJIMA PHOSPHATE DEFICIENCY

During our cattle-farming days, we realised that the OKONJIMA soil is phosphate deficient, resulting in sour grazing. On changing from cattle to game and wildlife conservation, we were sadly forced to fence-in our property, as OKONJIMA is surrounded by cattle and hunting farms, where predators are seldom tolerated. Fences prevent natural game migrations to better grazing areas, thus supplements are the only way to sustain a healthy population of plains game (Oryx, Impala, Eland, Wildebeest, Zebra, etc).

This is why you will pass troughs of ‘lick’ and ‘rock-salt’ on the game-drives around our property or in front of the Lodges.

The management of an ‘enclosed’ wildlife area involves taking care of every aspect within this wilderness, including responsibility for the well-being of ALL species!

THE PARK & EE FEE

The Okonjima Nature Reserve is a privately-managed protected area of 22 000 hectares / 200 km²

This conservation area is located in the heart of Namibia’s commercial farmlands and requires sensitive land-management practices. The expanded nature reserve carries a considerable amount of daily maintenance beyond the usual lodge management activities.

There are 8 permanent reserve staff members tasked with managing the numerous waterholes, 104 kilometres of fence-line, an expansive network of wilderness trails and the grassland management programme. The field team is also critically involved in AfriCat’s predator monitoring programme.

The Environmental Education Fund has been introduced now because Okonjima and AfriCat are committed to their ideal of contributing to long-term conservation through education.

The Environmental Education Fund will contribute to the running and maintenance of the 3 main aspects of our “conservation through education” program 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.
  • The Environmental Education Centre where visiting secondary school groups participate in an intensive environmental awareness program.
  • The Adult Education program which 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.

The small daily park fee of N$230.00 per person is designed to help cover some of the associated costs for the reserve.

2016: THE PARK & EE FEE

Dear Partners,
Thank you for your ongoing support for Okonjima Lodge and the AfriCat Foundation – your continued support for 2016 is valued.

We have streamlined the rate structure for the coming year, providing greater transparency, as well as facilitating clearer commission calculations.

We have decided not to split out contributions to the Private Nature Reserve / Park and Environmental Education, and we are troubled that many other lodges have added a similar fee, oftentimes gratuitously. Okonjima and the AfriCat Foundation have a long and proud track record with regards to conservation and education, and these programmes have expanded in scope over the years. These programmes do continue to rely on the goodwill of visiting guests, and many repeat guests have become strong advocates for our efforts in the field of nature conservation and human upliftment.

In this regard, the Okonjima Reserve is contributing unique, research data for species preservation, and we are developing a resident researcher programme with eminent tertiary institutions. Our Environmental Education Fund is supporting our thrust of long-term ‘conservation through education’ by running three key contributing elements,

i) the Perivoli Okonjima Country School, a Kindergarten-Grade 4 primary school,

ii) the Environmental Education Centre, a forum for Namibian secondary school pupils to participate in an intensive environmental awareness programme, and

iii) the Adult Education Programme, encompassing work with commercial and communal farmers as well as with tertiary students.

Henceforth, all rates will be inclusive of an allocation towards the above-mentioned programmes. We trust that our visitors will continue to enjoy our renowned Okonjima hospitality, and at the same time this visitation is playing a key role in the advancement of these long-established programme.