Field Research and Conservation in Africa
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Cosmas held a radio interview with East FM’s Raabia Hawa on cheetahs in Kenya. He talking about the status of Cheetah in Kenya, and the issues that they face - loss of habitat, conflicts with humans, kleptoparasitism in protected areas and genetic problems - and the issue of cheetah’s in captivity. While captivity is not an ideal solution to the decline of cheetahs, captive cheetahs can be great ambassadors for their wild cousins and for in-situ conservation, and if the facilities are well managed they are a great tool to raise awareness and funds for in-situ conservation of the species. Raabia referred to the proposed cheetah facility planned for the Soysambu Conservancy that ACK endorsed for KWS approval. Project Survival/Cat Haven and Animal Ark in the US have been using cheetahs and other ambassador animals to raise awareness and funds for wild cat research, and are the implementers of the facility.
Kenya still holds as many and 1500 cheetahs with resident populations remaining in 50% of the country. Over 75% of the cheetahs reside outside of protected areas, living in areas of human settlement and hunting for wild game in the same areas where livestock are grazed. Although human-wildlife conflict is a threat to cheetah survival the greatest impact that humans have on the future of the cheetah in the destruction of habitat. Cheetahs range wide areas and hunt several times a week depending on the amount of food eaten with each kill. The female travels great distances in search of a mate to whom she is not related. The loss of connectivity of the cheetah population would have health detriments including inbreeding, stress and starvation.
Cosmas also conducted an interview supporting the Athi-Kapiti Conservancy and their efforts in conservation action. Joining efforts with our neighbors we aim to link the Nairobi ecosystem to the areas south and east in support of corridors for animal movements. Community efforts in sustainable development and understanding of the importance of the wildlife in the area can only be achieved when we link efforts. This ties into the earlier blog about the efforts of the Mbithi’s (Michael in particular) in lion conservation. View the interview at : http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CxWMGbem3YE&feature=share
Action for Cheetahs in Kenya needs your help. To make a donation, please visit Project Survival – http://www.cathaven.com/Catalog.aspx?catid=3
ACK strives to work with conservation partners and within communities to assure that information and knowledge is shared among stakeholders. With over 75% of cheetahs residing outside of the protected area network - our efforts should also have a similar percentage in the communities.
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