International Cheetah Day spotlights Africa’s most threatened large cat
Otjiwarongo – Thanks to the unrelenting commitment and efforts of the Cheetah Conservation Fund, Africa’s rarest large cat, the Cheetah, enjoys the privilege of celebrating its own dedicated commemorative day every year on 04 December. This year the day was celebrated for the sixth time.
As part of their International Cheetah Day celebrations the Cheetah Conservation Fund (CCF) hosted children from the local area and their families to see and experience what the CCF does on a daily basis to ensure the survival of the wild Cheetah.
The children visited camera traps set up around the centre with photographs of individual cheetahs and learned how to distinguish the different spot patterns. They tried their hands at playing forensic detective during CCF’s Kill Identification workshop, figuring out how to identify the type of predator responsible for a kill by only looking at evidence left after the event.
CCF’s staff and interns from the University of Namibia, the Namibia University of Science and Technology and from various international universities set up station tables and shared their knowledge on the dynamic work of the CCF in the disciplines of genetics and ecology.
For entertainment, Cheetah mascots danced and sung as they offered “high-paws” to passing children, and the Cheetah Café served delicious chocolate cheetah-spotted cookies for all.
“International Cheetah Day at CCF was an eye opener for the guests and kids that I brought”, said Victor Shituleni, a Ranger of Regional Services and Wildlife in the Ministry of Environment and Tourism.
“They got to see and learn about cheetahs as having an important role in the food chain. Cheetahs are in danger of becoming extinct and it is very important for future generations to see them this way and help protect them. The kids I brought had never seen a cheetah up close before, and today they were able not just to view and touch them, but to learn about their importance and to look at them as more than just enemies”.