Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Wild Dog Conservation Initiative

The African Wild Dog (Lycaon pictus) is one of the continent’s most threatened large predators and Namibia’s free-ranging population is consistently estimated at a critically low level of between approximately 200 and 600 animals in less than 50 breeding units which mostly occur outside of formally protected areas (R. Lines, personal communication; Stander 2003; Woodroffe et al 2004). The present surviving population of wild dogs is severely fragmented and is highly unlikely to re-colonise areas that they used to inhabit by natural migration.

With these alarming figures, the importance of the captive population may become more paramount as a genetic reservoir, for research, and for reintroductions of the species. 

Monday, July 11, 2011

The Release of a Lifetime

Saturday 25th June saw the beginning of one of the biggest translocation and release programmes ever attempted in Namibia and certainly the biggest release operations at N/a'an ku se. 7 cheetahs and 1 leopard. 2 release sites. Our convoy clocked up a total  of 5,268km travelling through 3 regions and 7 districts of the country. All in just 8 days. N/a’an ku sê has never embarked on a challenge to relocate so many big cats at the same time. But we’re never one to shy away from a challenge...

Every moment of the release was filmed by Homebew Films for Animal Planet who covered the event for 2 episodes of our new television series to be aired on Animal Planet across Africa, NBC in Namibia and KykNET across sub-Sahara Africa in March 2012. 

Read on for all the details and photos from the whole week:

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

The tragic loss of a young female cheetah caught in a snare trap

On the morning of Sunday 12th June 2011 Marlice van Vuuren received a telephone call reporting a leopard caught in a snare near Brakwater, north of Windhoek, Namibia.

A team, including Marlice and her husband Dr Rudie van Vuuren, was immediately dispatched to attend the scene, assess the condition & welfare of the animal and, if necessary, bring it back to the sanctuary for further examination and/or recuperation.

Upon arrival, it was discovered that it was not a leopard, but a young female cheetah no more than about 2 years old. She had tried to pass under the bottom wire of the fence and become trapped in a snare which had encircled her waist, just in front of her hips. So tightly was she entangled that her inevitable struggles resulted in her back being broken in the lumbar region of the spine. The injuries caused by the snare, in conjunction with the stress, shock and dehydration she would undoubtedly have suffered, resulted in her death long before the team from N/a’an ku sê arrived.

The scene was photographed from all angles to properly document the incident. The young cheetah was then cut free from the snare and brought to N/a’an ku sê where it will be examined by researchers to further the scientific knowledge about this extraordinary cat.

Friday, May 6, 2011

Lightning's Success Story

In December 2009, we released one of our young leopards, Lightning, on Wilderness Safari’s Little Kulala reserve.

On Saturday 23 April this year Rudie received a phone call from Johan Steyn of Tsauchab River Camp regarding a leopard with a radio collar which he and his guests have seen regularly at Tsauchab. Rudie knew immediately that it was Lightning. Her radio collar had stopped giving out signals in January this year so all of the N/a an ku sê team were very excited to hear that, after 15 months of freedom, Lightning had been seen and that she is in good health and there is no conflict with the farmers in that area.

It is fantastic to know that Lightning can add value to Johan Steyn’s tourism market. It is a very good example of how tourism and conservation can work together and we now send all information about Lightning to Johan so that he can share it with his guests.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Opening of a new Conservation and Tourism Centre in Solitaire

Our new site will be a 500-hectare reserve and will accommodate injured and sick cheetahs with the view of releasing them back into the wild. Cheetahs that have come into conflict with humans but are not livestock killers will be part of the reintroduction program. 

The Centre will host an educational facility that is open to the public and offer display information and seminar talks about our Conservation Research Program. Tourists will also be able to join  our group of elite biologists to assist in wildlife activities such as feeding the animals, wildlife-tracking within the purpose-built enclosures, nature walks on and around the farm, and carnivore surveillance in the greater Namib area. 

To find out more about volunteering at either our Namibrand site or our new Solitaire site please contact volunteer@naankuse.com