Our Livestock Guarding Dog program has been officially scaled up!
The Cheetah Conservation Fund has increased the number of breeding dogs and, naturally, our puppy numbers have increased dramatically this year. In the last four months alone, we’ve had five litters of puppies born—and are expecting another litter around Christmas Day. (What a great present!)
Our Livestock Guarding Dog program began in 1994 and has been a huge success in protecting Namibian farmers’ livestock. By protecting the animals, the dogs act as a deterrent to cheetahs that might otherwise prey on the livestock – and by scaring off the cheetahs, the dogs prevent them from being shot by farmers.
The Program Has an Excellent Success Rate
According to CCF founder, Dr. Laurie Marker, farmers that own one of our dogs have reported, on average, an 80 percent reduction in livestock predation.
Livestock guardian breeds share not only physical traits such as large size and a threatening bark, but also important behavioral characteristics, showing attentive, trustworthy and protective behavior to the livestock with which they are raised.
They are not bred to herd or move the stock, which can trigger a predator to attack, but instead place themselves between the stock and the threat and bark loudly. If the predator persists, the dog will attack, but often the mere presence of an intimidating guardian is enough to make the predator leave.
The CCF’s Livestock Guarding Dog program uses the Anatolian Shepherd breed that has been used in Turkey for 6,000 years to protect sheep from wolves.
Our puppies will grow up to be working livestock guardians and placed with farmers around the country—protecting herds from predators. When the puppies are 10 weeks of age, they will leave our goat yard and sent to their new homes with their farmers (who go through training programs with us) and their own herds to bond with. The rural farmers we work with are interested in and are pursuing predator friendly management of their livestock. The CCF provides these puppies to the farmers at no charge.
Some of Our Puppies Will Be Heading to Tanzania
Six of the current puppies will be heading to Tanzania. This will be our second group that will be protecting livestock around the Ruaha National Park through our partners of the Ruaha Carnivore Project. Last year, we sent four, and they are doing well.
In Namibia, we’ve seen a reduction in the number of cheetahs caught, trapped and brought to us! Fewer cheetahs is exactly what we want to see and we’re thrilled to see more and more farmers implement active, integrated livestock, wildlife and predator management techniques.
CCF’s Livestock Guarding Dogs are at the core of our efforts to address human-wildlife conflict, which threatens the cheetah. With these new litters, we’ve now placed close to 600 dogs total!
To learn more about our program, visit our website.