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Sunday, 14 September 2008

Annual Waterhole Count and other Research News


During the past three months, CCF has made significant progress on cheetah population estimates using camera-trapping methodology. After finishing a camera-trapping survey 200 km south in the Sandveld Conservancy, CCF's ecologists, Fabiano, and Chris started another three-month survey around the Waterberg Conservancy.


In June, we hosted a Bayesian Networks Workshop (at right) for our Namibia cheetah group. The workshop was facilitated by Prof. Kerrie Mengersen and Ph.D. Candidate Sandra Johnson, from Queensland University of Technology's School of Mathematical Sciences in Australia. The collective team from CCF, the Namibian Ministry of Environment, and International Zoological Research of Berlin worked for three days developing a model that best defined the factors that influence the cheetah population growth and decline in Namibia. Group Photo


The first weekend of August brought together more than 80 volunteers to conduct our annual Waterberg Conservancy 12-hour waterhole count. CCF alone had 22 waterholes, where volunteers were stationed to count whatever wildlife appeared during the 12-hour period. Assisting with the count for the third year were Earth Expedition teachers from Miami University along with our Earthwatch volunteers, CCF local and international interns, and Peace Corps volunteers.


We are also very excited with the development of our new Applied Bioscience Conservation Genetics Laboratory and the arrival in May of post-doc Dr. Anne Schmidt-K√ľntzel from Dr. Steve O'Brien's genetics laboratory in the United States. The lab will be set up to process scat (faecal) samples for DNA extraction and analysis. Many thanks to Michael Helms for his help in making the conservation genetics lab a reality through his continued communications with Applied Biosystems Inc. ABI)!



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