The AfriCat Foundation
'Conserving Namibia's Wildlife'
Born into the tradition of cattle farming, the Hanssen family struggled to reconcile cattle farming, land conservation and generating a livelihood. It just didn’t seem right that wildlife should be killed and land degraded in order for a family to survive. Rather than continuing to fight wildlife, the younger generation decided to embrace living with it. Today the former family cattle farm is at the core of the thriving, protected Okonjima Nature Reserve. The acclaimed collection of Okonjima lodges and campsites enables visitors from far and wide to experience the Namibian bush. And the AfriCat Foundation works within and beyond the Reserve to enhance the conservation of all of Namibia’s flora and fauna, but in particular the predators that were once the bane of the Hanssen family.
Over the years AfriCat’s work has included human-wildlife mitigation, rescue, release and care of predators, cheetah rehabilitation and environmental education as the Foundation sought to make the most significant contribution in the changing context of conservation in Namibia. Today, recognising the urgent need to protect habitat for wildlife and the unique contribution of the Okonjima Nature Reserve, AfriCat is focussing on conservation research on the ecology of predators and endangered species within the Reserve, in order to inform the role that protected areas can play as a long-term conservation strategy.
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Celebrating the Okonjima Leopards
Against a back drop of declining leopard numbers in Namibia and globally due to habitat loss, human-wildlife conflict, illegal wildlife trade and trophy hunting, the Okonjima Nature Reserve is renowned for being one of the best places in the world to see leopards. Moreover, several of them are enrolled in AfriCat’s leopard research project, providing amazing insights into the secret lives of these normally elusive and mysterious big cats. AfriCat’s 2024 calendar celebrates just a few of the charismatic leopards of the Okonjima Nature Reserve; former guests to Okonjima will recognise many of the leopards on these pages. The photographs have been generously donated by some of the talented photographers who have visited Okonjima and support AfriCat’s work.
Ways To Support Us
The AfriCat Foundation welcomes financial donations to support our various research projects. Donations support the purchase of research equipment, veterinary costs, staff salaries, vehicle maintenance and research permit. We appreciate general donations that allow us to assign funding where it is most needed at the time and to facilitate long-term planning and the sustainability of AfriCat’s projects.
Ways to Support Us:
What did AfriCat do in 2022?
In consultation with the Hanssen family, the founders of AfriCat and the guardians of the Okonjima Nature Reserve, we decided to focus AfriCat activities in the future on research in support of conservation. We wanted to learn from previous struggles to find sustainable and effective solutions for human-wildlife conflict and to take advantage of our home in the ONR to build on the conservation strategy of the establishment and management of protected areas for wildlife conservation. We therefore decided to focus on research on the ecology of flora and fauna in the ONR, an enclosed protected area, to draw lessons for management and enhancement of such areas for conservation.
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