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Tuesday, 23 March 2010

NamibRand Boys - update as of 21/March

The boys decided that the mountains were not for them, and after last week's trek north, returned almost immediately to their usual range after a brief wander down towards Zebra Dam.  It looks as if they drank from the waterhole just outside the Keerweder guest house at around about 20:30 last night, but don't appear to have been near the house at any other time this week.  They appear to have settled down for the night (last night) very close to, possibly inside, the former boundary of the girls holding pen.




Monday, 22 March 2010

News from Namibia

Hi Cheetah Family!

We have gotten in new cheetahs – 3 male cubs a week ago. They are about eight months old – we worked them up about 4 days ago with the International course and Earthwatch volunteers. Then on Friday we got two more cheetahs –females – about 16 months old. One of them was caught in a gin trap with a wound on her rear toe, which we had to amputate. We worked on them yesterday.

Since its Namibian Independence weekend, I named the female with the wounds after one of Namibia’s most important female freedom fighters – Dr. Libertina Amatila Liberthina – and her sister, Nandi, after Hon. N. Nandi-Ndaitwah, Minister of Environment and Tourism.

OK. This is a quick update. We are having a lot happening here, compounded by the fifth international course on Livestock, Wildlife, and Predator Management.

Will be in more communication soon.


Thursday, 18 March 2010

After 30-Year Civil War, Cheetah Presence in Angola Confirmed (Press Release)


Contact: Dr. Laurie Marker - +264 (067) 306 225

After 30-Year Civil War, Cheetah Presence in Angola Confirmed by Cheetah Conservation Specialist

(Otjiwarongo, Namibia , 16 March 2010) - Dr. Laurie Marker, Executive Director of the Cheetah Conservation Fund, an international research based organisation based in Namibia, confirmed the existence of cheetah in Angola last week during a three-day survey conducted in Iona National Park, located in the Namibe province. This arid area in the extreme southwest of the country was one of the former ranges of the cheetah; however, due to Angola's three-decade civil war, the cheetah's status in the country has been unknown.

The 1.6 million hectare lona National Park, proclaimed a reserve on 2 October 1937, is located in southwest Angola, bordering Namibia. Although it is very dry, the area is perfect cheetah habitat with thousands of hectares of open savannah and a growing prey base such as springbok and oryx, two species that adapt to an arid environment and are the cheetah's primary prey. During the rapid survey, Marker used Global Positioning Systems (GPS) through the area, marking where game was found and recording the variety of habitats. "I probably saw a thousand springbok." Marker stated. "Then, on the last day in the park, we were down by dry river beds where there are big trees that look like what we know in Namibia as "playtrees" or territorial marking areas usually used by male cheetahs. We found nine different marking trees, very similar to what we find in Namibia and in remote places like Algeria. I found cheetah scat in the tree. By one of the trees, two big male cheetahs ran out. It was very exciting -- there are cheetahs in Angola."

The rapid ecological survey, designed to assess the habitat and prey in the area as potential cheetah habitat, was carried out at the urging of Alvaro Baptista, owner of the Omauaha Lodge near Iona National Park in Namibe, who visited Marker in Namibia in 2006. Baptista informed Marker of cheetah sightings in the area and encouraged the undertaking of an extensive survey to confirm their presence and to help develop a conservation plan for their long-term protection and survival. According to Baptista, "This Park is not really functioning as a national park, as personnel and infrastructure are nonexistent at this point. However, visits to the area have recently been conducted by people from both the World Bank and the United Nations Development Programme." Baptista has been active in the Namibe area his entire life and is considered one of the guardians of the Park. His Omauaha Lodge is one of the only tourism camps near the Iona Park.

Marker's visit to Angola was endorsed by the Kissama Foundation (, which has the mandate to support the development of the National Parks of Angola since peace came to the country in 2002. As a result of meetings in Angola's capital, Luanda, Marker hopes to develop collaborations with Kissama, as well as universities and relevant government officials. The goal is to develop a program using CCF's proven methods for censusing cheetah populations and assisting with community, government and non-government organizations in education awareness of cheetahs and bio-diversity to show the benefits of a predator's role in a healthy ecosystem and ecotourism.

Cheetah Scat on Playtree in Angola

Cheetah Scat found on Marking Tree in Angola's Iona National Park. (c) Cheetah Conservation Fund 2010.


Dr. Laurie Marker finds Cheetah Scat in Angola.

Dr. Laurie Marker, Executive Director of the Cheetah Conservation Fund, finds cheetah scat at a marking tree in Angola's Iona National Park. (c) Cheetah Conservation Fund 2010

Note: To donwload higher resolution pictures, please click on the images.

Editor's notes:

  • The Cheetah Conservation Fund, celebrating 20 years in helping to save the wild cheetah, is a Namibian non-profit trust dedicated to the long-term survival of the cheetah and its ecosystems.
  • Since 1990, the organisation has developed education and conservation programmes based on its bio-medical cheetah research studies, published scientific research papers and has presented educational programmes to more than 350,000 outreach school learners, donated over 300 livestock guarding dogs to commercial and communal farmers as part of the CCF innovative non-lethal livestock management programme, and has established a cheetah genome resource bank of cheetah sperm, tissue and blood samples.
  • Research into cheetah biology and ecology has greatly increased our understanding of the fastest land animal and education programmes for schools and the farming community help change public attitudes to allow predator and humans to co-exist. However, despite the many successes of CCF programmes, the cheetah is still Africa's most endangered big cat with ~10,000 cheetahs remaining.
  • "Playtrees" or marking trees have been found to be unique to cheetah territorial behaviour in Namibia and other cheetah range countries.  Cheetahs frequent these marking trees where they leave scat (faeces) as a scent marking for other cheetahs.  In addition, cheetah females come to these marking trees when in oestrus.
  • Cheetahs have one of the largest home ranges recorded of mammals; in Namibia they average approximately 1,500 km2 and live at low densities.
  • Today's world population of free-ranging cheetahs is estimated at 10,000 individuals, 25% of which are found in Namibia.  

For more information:  

Cheetah Conservation Fund
PO Box 1755, Otjiwarongo, Namibia
Tel: +264 (0) 67 306225
Fax: +264 (0) 67 306247

Wednesday, 17 March 2010

NamibRand female - as of 17/March

We only got a few points from the female this past week so while I know she went as far south as Nubib, I don't know how she got there.  What is clear unfortunately, is that she has now returned to Hammerstein, and was there in the early hours of this morning.  




Tuesday, 9 March 2010

One more Award for CCF: the 2010 Tyler Prize for Environmental Achievement

Tyler Prize for Environmental Achievement

2010 Tyler Laureates
Laurie Marker and Stuart L. Pimm
Winners of 2010 Tyler Environmental Prize Announced

Laurie Marker of the Cheetah Conservation Fund and Stuart Pimm of Duke University recognized for scientific and management contributions to the understanding and restoration of ecosystems.
Two conservationists whose careers have centered on understanding ecosystem functions as the essential foundation for ecosystem restoration will share the 2010 Tyler Prize for Environmental Achievement.
The award, consisting of a $200,000 cash prize and gold medals, will go to Dr. Laurie Marker, the co-founder and executive director of the Cheetah Conservation Fund in Otjiwarongo, Namibia, and Professor Stuart Pimm, the Doris Duke Professor of Conservation Ecology at Duke University in Durham, North Carolina.

On Friday, April 23, at 7 p.m., the Tyler Prize Executive Committee and the international environmental community will honor the recipients at a banquet and ceremony at the Four Seasons Hotel in Beverly Hills.
The Tyler Prize Executive Committee recognized Marker and Pimm “for their scientific contributions, their understanding of ecosystem functions, and for their applications of this knowledge to the management and restoration of ecosystems to the benefit of their inhabitants.”

Laurie Marker has been involved in the study of wild cheetahs for more than 30 years and established an organization in Namibia to study them and protect them. The organization approaches wildlife conservation by clearly addressing the needs of human inhabitants and creating economic opportunities for them. The Tyler Prize award is made in recognition of her contributions to developing an ecosystem-based approach to sustainable management of a landscape that incorporates “the knowledge and economic interests of the local population” to support its long-term goal of protecting the endangered cheetah.

Marker has been involved in the study and captive breeding of cheetahs since the mid-1970s and established the Cheetah Conservation Fund in 1990. The group addresses problems, real and perceived, of cheetah predation on livestock as well as the very real degradation of grazing land and wildlife habitat by an invasive plant. Marker has initiated projects that raise guard dogs for livestock herds to reduce cheetah predation and that create an economic enterprise to clear invasive thorny bushes and process them into fuel. The projects are building a constituency among rural Namibians for cheetah conservation and, at the same time, are restoring and protecting farmland, livestock pastures and wildlife habitat.

Marker’s nomination for the Tyler Prize was initiated by a former U.S. Ambassador to Namibia, Jeffrey Bader. In his letter of nomination, Bader described Marker as “literally and figuratively a force of nature,” and he described the work of the Cheetah Conservation Fund as “the most successful project I have ever seen to protect the world's biodiversity.”
Stuart Pimm has a long career in conservation research, teaching and public policy, and when Pimm’s colleagues refer to his work, they frequently cite its influence as well as its substance. His Tyler Prize award is made in recognition of his work to delineate the structures of ecological food webs, to understand the expected lifetimes of plant and animal populations, and to determine the populations that are most vulnerable to risks of extinction and those that have the capacity to recover most rapidly from disturbances. In his letter of nomination for the Tyler Prize, Edward O. Wilson, an emeritus Harvard University professor and himself a Tyler Laureate, said Pimm’s achievements “serve as an environmental conservation template.”

Pimm has studied the structure of ecological communities and the consequences of diminished species diversity across the trophic levels of ecological communities. In addition, Pimm has developed theory and empirical analysis to address the conservation of endangered species in terms of their communities and populations. Pimm has contributed to more than 200 journal articles, many of them as the lead author or sole author, has managed research projects around the world and has worked as a university-level professor for 36 years.

Pimm is well known for working beyond the scientific community as a policy advisor and source for media interviews. One of his colleagues, in a letter of support for his nomination for the Tyler Prize, said Pimm’s contributions to conservation science are notable because he cares enough to “find a way to make a difference.”

On Thursday, April 22, at 2 p.m., Marker and Pimm will deliver public lectures at the Davidson Conference Center of the University of Southern California, which administers the prize.


The Tyler Prize for Environmental Achievement is one of the premier awards for environmental science, environmental health and energy.

It was established by the late John and Alice Tyler in 1973 and has been awarded annually to sixty-one individuals and four organizations associated with world-class environmental accomplishments.


For More Information on the Tyler Prize, Contact:
Sue Anderson, Administrator

Friday, 5 March 2010

Cheetah Cubs born at Boras Zoo in Sweden

Look at these beautiful cheetah cubs! They were born at Borås Zoo in Sweden.

Borås Zoo started in 1962 and the idea was to create a new modern zoo with
large enclosures and with mixed species exhibits. The big African savannah
is a good example of this, were African species like elephants, giraffes,
Cape buffaloes, zebras, blesboks, elands and ostriches live together. In
another savannah exhibit, white rhinos and cheetahs coexist peacefully.
Today the zoo's focus is African and Nordic wild species, and they take part
in twenty-five breeding programmes.
CCF is honoured to be the Zoo's main In-situ conservation effort for the
last 12 years. Borås They raise funds for CCF through a money box, water
sales, and partnerships with local organizations like the Lions' Club. We
truly thank the Director, Bo Kjellson, and the entire Zoo staff, for all the
work they've done to help. For information about Borås go to
Enjoy these photos, and thanks Borås and all the zoos that support us.

Sifaka Blog: Leigh Whelpton

Sifaka Blog: Leigh Whelpton

Check out this awesome blog for kids, with lots of updates from CCF in Namibia and many encounters with wildlife.

Good news about the NamibRand female - as of 3/3

Data for the female is extremely sparse this week, with only three points transmitted.  The last however, early yesterday morning, places her just outside the Hammerstein boundary on the farm of Swartmodder (11 km from NRNR border, and 1.8 km from the C19).   The owners of Swartmodder are rather more cheetah friendly, so lets hope she stays there.



Wednesday, 3 March 2010

Laurie Marker in France - April 3-4, 2010

Facebook | Laurie Marker's Conference at the" Parc de Thoiry" - Laurie Marker's Conference at the" Parc de Thoiry"

We are pleased to inform you that Laurie Marker, co-founder and executive director of the Cheetah Conservation Fund ( be back in France soon for a special visit at Zoo de Thoiry (

Laurie Marker will give a lecture Saturday, April 3rd, 2010 at 16:30. She will outline the threats to the survival of cheetahs and actions taken by the Cheetah Conservation Fund to protect this species. Thoiry also plans to dedicate a special area for cheetahs throughout the weekend of Easter. This space will be located on the stand in the middle of the conservation park.

More information will follow, but note already that date in your diary. We hope you will come many to attend this exceptional event!

We will use this opportunity to organize, early in the day, a meeting of members and supporters of our association. You are obviously invited to participate.

Hoping to meet you on April 3rd at Thoiry, I wish you all and all my best regards.

Patrice AUBRY

International Conservationists at CCF

International Conservationists at CCF

International Conservationists attend courses at the
Cheetah Conservation Fund

Otjiwarongo, Namibia – During February, the Cheetah Conservation Fund hosted 21 conservationists and agriculturalists from four southern African cheetah-range countries for an international training course on Integrated Livestock, Wildlife, and Predator Management. The course focused on cheetah-human conflict, and the role of farmer outreach programmes and community-based training to mitigate conflict. This course was supported by the Howard G. Buffett Foundation in cooperation with the African Cheetah Initiative’s Cheetah Regional Strategic Planning partners.

Participants came from Botswana, Zambia, Mozambique, and Namibia for the training, which helped build capacity to conserve cheetahs and their ecosystems by working with communities and other stakeholders to apply techniques for mitigating human-wildlife conflict.

With cheetah populations dwindling, their survival depends on educated people using proven methods to reverse this trend. Over the past 20 years, CCF and other organizations have developed many such methods and for the past few years have been sharing this information through training for wildlife conservation and agriculture professionals. Bringing together professionals and training the trainers from a variety of cheetah-range countries is promoting a unified and systematic approach to cheetah conservation including research, monitoring and wildlife-conflict mitigation measures,” commented CCF’s Founder and Executive Director, Dr. Laurie Marker.

CCF staff was assisted with lectures and exercises by a number of conservation and agricultural advocates. Wiebke Volkmann, from Earth Wise Enterprise, taught on integrated and holistic management practices. Topics included the advantages of grouping community livestock herds together and improving the productivity of grazing lands through reduced impact on the land, increasing ground cover and reducing erosion and water runoff. Other course presenters included Dr. Donald Hlahla, from the Ministry of Environment and Tourism, who facilitated a workshop on leadership skills, and Dr. Peter Lindsey, a conservancy consultant, who presented the IUCN’s adopted Southern African Regional Strategy on Cheetahs and Wild Dogs. In addition, Chris Weaver of WWF presented on large-scale land use planning using Namibia’s Communal Conservancy Programme as a model for community-based resource management.
Adolf Okamaru, a resident of Queen Sofia and the recipient of CCF’s 2009 Farmer of the Year Award, has attended several of CCF’s Farmer’s Training courses, and also was a participant in CCF’s International Training Course on Integrated Livestock, Wildlife and Predator Management held in June, 2009. Reflecting on CCF’s training courses and this visit to Queen Sofia, Adolf asserted that, “as an emerging farmer in this area, I want to see things done in a progressive way towards Namibia’s Vision 2030. My motive includes all future generations in the farming arena with the hope of working together and achieving our farming objectives. Therefore, our engagement with CCF through agricultural trainings opened our minds to see the issues existing now at Queen Sofia and in the ecosystem.

Mutende Musonda, a course participant representing the Zambian Ministry of Agriculture and Co-operatives, remarked that “Queen Sofia can be used to model development of wildlife and agriculture in other areas as a means to fulfill resettlement objectives and improve the socio-economic level of communities.

CCF’s Integrated Livestock, Wildlife, and Predator Management courses, along with the Cheetah Conservation Biology courses, are making great strides toward the appropriate training of wildlife professionals and agricultural extension officers in the cheetah’s remaining range-countries, as well as for the cheetah’s worldwide conservation.

CCF will be hosting another International Integrated Livestock and Predator Management courses in March. From 3 to 30 June 2010, a Cheetah Conservation Biology Field Training course will run, which is aimed at providing conservation training for international cheetah conservation biologists.

Please contact CCF for more information

International Conservationists Group - Feb. 2010
Participants of International Course on Integrated Livestock, Wildlife and Predator Management held at the Cheetah Conservation Fund (CCF) in February, 2010.

Survey at Queen Sofia, February 2010
Participants conduct surveys at the Queen Sofia Resettlement Project.

Surveys at Queen Sofia Resettlement, Feb. 2010
Surveys by CCF's international course at the Queen Sofia Resettlement Project.