AfriCat provides environmental education programmes for the youth of Namibia by guiding them towards a greater understanding of the natural world and the importance of wildlife conservation.
The AfriCat Environmental Education programme is an enabler within the broader Namibian education system. Catering to a wide spectrum of ages and socio-economic backgrounds, AfriCat’s vision is to harness the rapt attention which learners embody when they visit AfriCat’s two centres into a deep-seated awareness of ALL environmental issues and, specifically in the Namibian context, those involving the vexed juxtaposition between farming communities and the country’s large carnivores.
To continuously develop, propagate, and improve Environmental Education programmes for the benefit of Namibians, in the pursuit of increasing awareness and understanding of the complexity of environmental issues, to teach and encourage sustainable living practices, to promote greater tolerance of carnivores outside of protected areas, and to find practical solutions to the farmer-predator conflict situation.
To develop the knowledge, skills, and action-competence of learners and their communities, enabling them to participate in the conservation of their areas, leading to the sustainable management of carnivore populations in Namibia.
Through increased education and awareness, AfriCat is dedicated to the protection and conservation of wild & free-ranging carnivore populations in Namibia, ultimately ensuring the survival of the species.
To develop and support specific community initiatives, programmes, and projects, which are targeted to sustainably contribute to economic enhancement of households, with the consequent gradual but steady impact of poverty alleviation and skill augmentation.
HUMAN WILDLIFE CONFLICT & COMMUNITY SUPPORT
AfriCat supports commercial (free-hold) and the communal farming communities of northern Namibia, specifically those bordering the Etosha National Park, in dealing with human/wildlife conflict issues and predator intrusion. In general, instead of predator removal as a method of conflict mitigation, AfriCat now offers farmers a variety of effective farm-management techniques to better protect their livestock. In this way, farmers are encouraged to become predator tolerant and most of the resident predators remain in place.
The AfriCat Communal Carnivore Conservation Programme (CCCP) includes the following projects:
- Livestock Protection Programme
- Community support & Environmental Education
- Carnivore Conservation, Research & Monitoring
Lion research around the Etosha National Park: The Communal Carnivore Conservation & Research Programme (hereafter CCCP) will effectively support farmers as well as ensure the protection of the wild lion along Etosha’s borders and elsewhere. In order to establish the effectiveness of relocating these trans-boundary lions as well as the long-term sustainability of conflict mitigation practices, a research project has been developed.
Post Rescue Lions: The AfriCat – Etosha Transboundary Lion Project aims at monitoring the movements of collared perpetrators, in the hope that they will not return to the farms where they were caught. The outcome of this project will provide valuable data as to whether all lions leaving the Etosha Park to feast on livestock become habitual stock-raiders or whether some only ‘occasionally’ cross these borders, returning to their home-ranges thereafter.
AfriCat supports an ongoing collaboration with researchers, scientists and the conservation authorities by working closely with farming communities, allowing for constructive research to take place in support of the long-term conservation of Namibia’s predators.
AfriCat’s Carnivore Research includes the following projects:
- The long-term health monitoring and immune-competence of captive cheetahs and other felids at AfriCat and in the Okonjima Nature Reserve
- Cheetah genetic diversity demography
- Reversibility of Deslorelin implants in males
- Does Dental intervention improve on the well-being of captive carnivores
AfriCat provides an environment for previously non-releasable large carnivores to hone their hunting skills in a 4500 ha reserve and a new 16 000-hectare reserve, on Okonjima. Carnivores learn to become self-sustaining which gives them the opportunity to return to their natural environment.
This programme also supports constructive research.
Rehabilitating Captive Cheetahs and the success rate of Rehabilitation:
- Determine how rehabilitation will influence predator-prey ratios and update the model accordingly
- Determine the success of ‘captive cheetah rehabilitation’ within an island-bound conservation area.