The newest life at CCF does not purr and lick, nor does it bark or scratch. These week-old creatures have disproportionately large ears, gangly and unsteady limbs, vast orb-like eyes, and tiny, pink cloven hooves. When they aren’t sleeping or drinking milk from their protective mothers, they are gamboling and capering around their pen, attempting to butt heads or jump onto higher surfaces, and – spoiler alert – making the most heart-melting bahh-ing sounds. CCF is happy to announce the birth of six indigenous Boer goat kids!
The six kids (5 females and 1 male) were born to three healthy Boer does. There were no complications during any of the births and all mothers instinctively began to clean, feed, and examine their kids. The kids all have white bodies and either milk or dark chocolate colored heads. They are all spry and inquisitive, exploring and frolicking until they collapse into a pile and sleep.
Though birth in the kraal is met with less fanfare than most cheetah news, it is in fact an illustration of what makes the Cheetah Conservation Fund an internationally recognized centre of excellence: CCF is committed to developing the best practices in education, land use and conservation to benefit all species, including humans. CCF is dedicated to teaching and working with farmers harmoniously, as well as leading by example. The livestock farm at CCF’s headquarters Namibia is a model farm used to exhibit techniques and practices by which livestock and wildlife can be properly managed, eliminating the need for farmers and ranchers to kill wild cheetah. The kraal at CCF is currently home to Boer goats, Damara sheep, mixed-breeds of dairy goat, and the Anatolian shepherds and Kangal dogs who guard the flock both inside the kraal and out in the field.
Boer goats were developed in South Africa in the early 1900’s for meat production and were therefore the logical choice of breed for this model Namibian farm. CCF’s model farm exemplifies the predator-friendly livestock management techniques of establishing calving seasons, using calving kraals, having herders, and using dogs as livestock guardians, to name a few. The success of the model farm demonstrates that wild cheetah can continue to live on Namibian farmland without hindering the farmers’ way of life or harming their livelihood. CCF is encouraged that there is now far greater awareness of the cheetah's role in the ecosystem, and an increasing number of farmers adopt predator-friendly livestock management practices and fewer cheetahs are being killed. While these new lives have started without ceremony or drama, as is the natural way, their healthy birth and their symbolic role in the Cheetah Conservation Fund is concomitantly a celebration of the prosperous future of the wild cheetah.
Photos copyright © Cheetah Conservation Fund 2012