Thanks to a friend’s travels to the southern tip of Africa, a story from the field about colleagues we hope to meet soon. The friend learned of this program during a visit to a Cape Town winery (cheers to them and that; click the logo to the right to read more than we can share here):
Promoting the survival of the free ranging, Southern African cheetah through environmental education and delivering conservation initiatives.
As a result of the success of Cheetah Conservation Fund’s livestock guarding dog programme in Namibia, a trial programme was launched by De Wildt’s Wild Cheetah Management Project (WCMP) and Cheetah Outreach in 2005 to introduce the Anatolian shepherd to serve farmers in South Africa. To give this trial the best possible chance of success, farmers were carefully selected and given an information booklet outlining introduction and management strategies for their dogs, collated from CCF literature and experiences, as well as veterinary protocols to ensure health. For optimal results, dogs need to be fit. To promote a good working diet and veterinary care, costs are sponsored by the programme for the first year. The rest is in the hands of the farmer who must invest interest during the initial critical period. This will often be the deciding factor that ensures success in the rearing of a productive guarding dog.
Since the programme was implemented, Anatolian guard dogs have been placed on farms in cheetah range in Limpopo and North West Provinces, where they have reduced livestock losses from 95 to 100%. Though mostly used to guard sheep and goats, for the first time in southern Africa, some dogs have been used to successfully guard cattle and in one instance, wild game.
In 2013 the Livestock Guarding Dog Project was expanded and split into 2 territories, West and East. Deon Cilliers, very experienced in human-predator conflict mitigation, was hired as a second Anatolian field coordinator. Deon places and monitors Anatolians in Territory East (Limpopo Province) while Cyril Stannard continues to place and monitor Anatolians in Territory West (North West Province).