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Thursday, 30 June 2011

International conservationists' intensive training at CCF.

For the past three weeks, CCF has been hosting the 6th International Cheetah Conservation Biology Training Course. The objective of these courses is to train conservation biologists from the cheetah’s range countries in proven methods of cheetah conservation, so that they can become trainers of these methods in their respective home countries. In this course we have 26 participants from Botswana, Zimbabwe, Zambia, Ethiopia, Niger, Iran, Uzbekistan and India, as well as large cat experts from Brazil, and the UK.

International course participants with Laurie and Bruce, CCF USA Trustee Polly Hix and her husband Tony Fair. (c) Cheetah Conservation Fund, 2011.
So far the participants have spent much of their time learning from lectures by CCF staff as well as guest speakers from Namibian conservation and research organisations, university lecturers from the United States and specialists from Botswana. Lectures have addressed a variety of topics including, large-scale conservation, range land management, cheetah behaviour, husbandry and feeding ecology, habitat studies, management plans, rapid sociological studies and human-wildlife conflict. The group has also been involved in practical sessions, learning skills such as radio-tracking, vegetation surveys, diet analysis using hair from scat samples, cheetah immobilisations and collecting biological samples.

Hands-on learning with a cheetah immobilisation in the clinic. (c) Cheetah Conservation Fund, 2011
Last week the course travelled to the Sesfontein Conservancy in Namibia’s North-West. Here they put some of their new skills into practice by conducting a rapid survey of the area including game counts, habitat description and a sociological survey focusing on human-wildlife conflict as well as conducting training for the community members to help them deal with predator problems in their conservancy.

Kat Forsythe

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