December 4th marks the second International Cheetah Day. As you know, we in Namibia are passionate about these graceful big cats, aprobably something to do with having the largest population of cheetahs in the world - around 2,500, out of a total population of 10,000!
This is partly thanks to our fabulous big cat conservation organisations such as AfriCat, N/a’an ku sê, and the Cheetah Conservation Fund (CCF). CCF's Founder and Executive Director, Dr. Laurie Marker says of this day:
“We stand at a moment where this amazing animal could disappear in less than 20 years if we don’t do anything to stop it. International Cheetah Day serves to remind us that the cheetah, like all wildlife, is a treasure of our planet. Wildlife enhances our landscapes and can support livelihoods when utilized in a sustainable manner. When a species becomes extinct, everyone loses.”
Unfortunately, while many people have come together to try and protect the cheetah, the greatest threat to this animal's survival still comes from humans. Farmers may kill cheetahs because they believe they pose a threat to their livestock, while others capture cheetahs to be sold as illegal pets.
One of CCF's creative solutions involved breeding livestock-guarding dogs for farmers. The dogs' presence can reduce predation rates by 80 percent. CCF has also worked tirelessly with a network of individuals and organizations to combat the illegal pet trade.
How to support International Cheetah Day:
Donations to support CCF’s work are always welcome - why not start a funraising activity with your friends, kids or local school? Visit www.cheetah.org to find out more.
Spread the word! Conservation starts with knowledge - download an excellent cheetah information pack and educational aide.
If you are in the US, the Elephant Bar restaurant chain, with 46 locations across the country, will donate 20% of participating sales to CCF on December 4th, 2012. Download a flyer here.
Or... be a hands-on conservationist! Come to Namibia, and spend time volunteering at one of our fabulous wildlife conservation organisations!