Rewilding helps nature heal – Cheetah Conservation Fund
Rewilding helps keep climate change under control by removing carbon from the atmosphere, making the planet a healthier place to live, said Dr Laurie Marker, Founder and Executive Director of the Cheetah Conservation Fund (CCF).
Rewilding is the simple action of helping nature heal itself. Practitioners like CCF engage in a multitude of activities including reintroducing native species, protecting watersheds, and restoring wildlands to their natural state.
On 20 March, CCF and conservationists around the world raised awareness for rewilding. CCF is at the forefront of the rewilding movement in Namibia, and is also one of the organisations who led the inaugural celebration of World Rewilding Day, together with the Global Rewilding Alliance and WILD Foundation.
In Namibia, CCF has tagged and released more than 650 cheetahs back into the wild and radio-tracked nearly 100 cheetahs during a long-term study, providing the data to inspire range-wide management plans. CCF has also rehabilitated more than 50 orphaned cheetahs back into the wild. A peer-reviewed research paper detailing CCF’s methods will soon be published in Oryx – The International Journal of Conservation.
CCF’s Bush Project and its sustainable harvest of overgrown thorn bush restores grasslands for livestock and allows for more space for predators and their prey. It also helps stave off desertification, which is a critical concern for Namibia, with its arid climate and millions of hectares of encroached lands.
“Human health is inextricably linked to the wild, and healthy ecosystems have greater biodiversity. This is the reason why we must learn to live with cheetahs and other wildlife, it is really for the good of us all,” Marker said.
World Rewilding Day was born out of the planning that took place for the 11th World Wilderness Congress and the Global Rewilding Charter.
A growing body of research shows that by restoring wildlands, at least 37% of global carbon capture targets can be quickly and effectively achieved and the catastrophic effects of runaway climate change can be avoided.
The first-annual World Rewilding Day falls on March 20, 2021, the same year the United Nations launches the Decade of Ecosystem Restoration. Taking a cue, the theme for CCF’s virtual Spring Tour of the United States with Dr Marker is ‘Let’s Keep the Wild, Wild’.
The Cheetah Conservation Fund has restored thousands of hectares of land in Namibia for farmers and wildlife to share through its Bush Project. (Cheetah Conservation Fund)