Happy International Cheetah Day!
We are the Cheetah Conservation Fund, an internationally recognized non-profit dedicated to the long-term survival of the cheetah. Founded by Dr. Laurie Marker in 1990, our headquarters is located 40 kilometers east of Otjiwarongo, Namibia, “the cheetah capital of the world.”
On our private reserve, which is roughly half the size of New York City’s five boroughs, we provide a sanctuary for orphaned and injured cheetahs; operate a 100,000-acre model livestock and wildlife farm (with goat creamery!); and an 8,000-acre soft-releasing camp for cheetahs’ rehabilitation to the wild.
The CCF International Research and Education Center houses a visitor reception area, cheetah museum, research facility, veterinary clinic, genetics laboratory, lecture hall, classroom, staff offices, gift shop and café. Over the past 24 years, over 20,000 students have visited our facility to learn about endangered cheetahs and their crucial role in the wild ecosystem. Another 330,000 have participated in CCF outreach programs in their schools.
In addition to our Namibian operations, CCF has 13 chapters in the U.S. and registered Trusts in Namibia, Canada, the UK, Belgium and Australia, with affiliates in the Netherlands, Italy, Japan, France and Germany.
Thus far, CCF conservation programs include Future Farmers of Africa, a training course teaching basic farming and predator-friendly livestock and land management techniques, and our highly successful Livestock Guarding Dog Program, which is credited for dramatically reducing the conflict between livestock farmers and predators and saving the lives of hundreds of cheetahs. Dr. Laurie Marker talks about these programs and more in her interview with Planet Experts’ Pierce Nahigyan.
CCF also harvests encroaching thorn bush that has taken over and destroyed the cheetah’s native grasslands to make clean-burning fuel logs known as Bushblok with its award-winning Bush Project.
As Dr. Marker explains, “We have harvested [the thorn bush] and shifted and put it into a extruded fuel log, and that fuel log burns with a very high heat and very low emissions. It’s an eco-log. Our employees are paid an appropriate salary and, as we harvest, we harvest in a biodiversity-friendly way.
“Our Bushblok is actually a product that is made out of the habitat-restoration project, and then the fuel log can be sold and that helps pump money into the economy.”
If you’d like to visit us, our Namibian headquarters is open to the public from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily except Christmas Day. Visitors may tour the property and observe a number of cheetah activities, including feedings and daily exercise sessions known as “cheetah runs.” Overnight visitors can stay at Camp Lightfoot, a tented overnight facility for groups up to 35, or the exclusive Babson Guesthouse, a three-bedroom private accommodation with views overlooking CCF’s cheetah sanctuary and Waterberg Plateau Park.