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Conservationists help cheetahs run

Minister Netumbo Nandi Ndaitwah and Dr. Laurie Marker with the 2012 Cheetah Conservation winners (Photograph by Hilma Hashange)

Minister Netumbo Nandi Ndaitwah and Dr. Laurie Marker with the 2012 Cheetah Conservation winners (Photograph by Hilma Hashange)

Dr. Laurie Marker, Founder and Executive Director of the Cheetah Conservation Fund awarded three individuals for their role in conserving the cheetah at a gala dinner held recently in Windhoek. Melba Tjozongoro, an agricultural extension officer in Gobabis, was awarded the 2012 Cheetah Conservation Farmer of the Year, Dr. Dennis Profitt was awarded the 2012 Cheetah Conservationist of the Year and the award for 2012 Cheetah Conservation Business of the Year was received by Continental Outdoor Media, General Manager, Harald Fülle.
The awards were conferred at the 14th Annual Fundraising Gala Dinner of the Cheetah Conservation Fund (CCF) on 13 July 2012 at the Windhoek Country Club and was attended by the Minister of Environment and Tourism, Netumbo Nandi Ndaitwah and guest speakers, Doug and Kris Tompkins from the Foundation for Deep Ecology.
Doug and Kris Tompkins are environmental acivists visiting from Argentina and Chile. The couple is President and Vice President of the Foundation for Deep Ecology respectively and are also founders of two other conservation parks, Conservation Land and Trust and Conservacion Pantagonica. The pair was in the country to learn more about Namibia’s conservation initiatives and have visited several places such as the CCF, Save the Rhino Trust and Etosha National Park. They described conservation in Namibia as remarkable. Through their philanthropic concept, they shared their experience in conservation and stressed the importance of giving back to the community. “We are proud philanthropic people. It is the responsibility of the rich to pay back to the community because it is through your philanthropy that you get so much more back than what you gave,” said Doug and Kris.
Minister of Environment and Tourism, Hon. Netumbo Nandi -Ndaitwah, who gave the key note address congratulated the staff of the CCF for maintaining the country’s position as the world cheetah capital. She said during her visit to the Cheetah Conservation Research and Education Centre, she appreciated the fact that the number of students has increased and the research laboratories including the genetic laboratory has developed to assist in census technology for the cheetah and other wildlife studies. Another significant achievement of the CCF, the Minister noted is the cooperation of the farming community, which she said allowed the fund to recognise the key role Namibian farmers can play in conservation in general and cheetah conservation in particular.
The recent decision by Cabinet to donate some game to the Republic of Cuba has seen some game including the cheetah being captured to be transported to Cuba, a move which Nandi-Ndaitwah said will enable Cuba to appreciate the elegance of the Namibian cheetah first hand while recognising the great wealth of wildlife that exist in the country. According to Nandi-Ndaitwah, conservation of the cheetah affects both the social and economic needs and aspirations of the community. “The tourism industry is crucial for economic growth and sustainable development. If we keep Namibia, the world cheetah capital, that will have a direct contribution to our economic growth and development.,” she said.

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