Her Royal Highness Princess Michael of Kent Joins Fight to Save Wild Cheetahs as Cheetah Conservation Fund’s First Royal Patron
OTJIWARONGO, NAMIBIA (6 April 2017) – Cheetah Conservation Fund’s (CCF) mission to save the world’s dwindling wild cheetah population has been energised by the addition of Her Royal Highness Princess Michael of Kent as the organisation’s first ever Royal Patron. Inspired by her long-time interest in cheetahs and an introduction by CCF UK Patrons Jonathan and Angela Scott, HRH Princess Michael of Kent travelled to the “Cheetah Capital of the World” in March at the invitation of CCF’s Founder and Executive Director, Dr Laurie Marker. HRH Princess Michael of Kent visited CCF’s research base near Otjiwarongo, Namibia, where she endeavoured to build a foundation of knowledge about the species’ plight and determine ways she could help.
“HRH Princess Michael of Kent and I share a common interest in the cheetah. She raised an orphan cub as a teenager in Mozambique, and she has carried that experience forward in life”, said Dr Laurie Marker. “During her week at CCF, our staff presented information about our programmes to conserve the species, from livestock guarding dogs, genetics, habitat restoration and cheetah reintroductions, to our education initiatives”.
HRH Princess Michael of Kent toured CCF’s Field Research and Education Centre over the course of five days to familiarise herself with CCF’s Model Farm, veterinary clinic, conservation genetics laboratory and Biomass Technology Demonstration Centre. She met with staff administering CCF’s Future Farmers of Africa and Livestock Guarding Dog Programmes and accompanied CCF scientists to Erindi Private Game Reserve to observe the release of three cheetahs back into the wild. HRH Princess Michael also helped dedicate CCF’s new Cheetah View Lodge, a five-suite accommodation for overnight guests set to open this June. Following the tour, Dr Marker escorted HRH Princess Michael of Kent to Windhoek to facilitate introductions and strategize with CCF Namibia Board members and the Honourable Professor Peter Katjavivi, CCF’s International Patron and Speaker of the National Assembly of Namibia.
HRH Princess Michael of Kent has long been associated with the feline icon of speed and grace. During the 1960’s she raised a cheetah from a cub, chronicling that experience in a book she authored about her African travel experiences to be published in September, A Cheetah’s Tale. She met Dr Marker at a CCF event in the UK in 2016 and expressed her desire to support in cheetah conservation efforts in Namibia. HRH Princess Michael has been active in wildlife conservation throughout her life, and for the past 20 years, she has been a Royal Patron for the Hoedspruit Endangered Species Centre in South Africa.
“We are deeply honoured to welcome Her Royal Highness Princess Michael of Kent to Namibia and are thrilled to have her support as CCF’s Royal Patron”, said Dr Marker. “The more people who learn about the cheetah’s problems, the greater the chance we have of saving the species. HRH Princess Michael of Kent represents a brilliant beacon of hope not only for the cheetah, but for the people who live with the species, in Namibia and throughout its African range”.
CCF is a Namibian non-profit foundation with the goal of working with farmers on whose land the cheetah lives. CCF has grown over the past 26 years from its inception in 1990 into a world-class research, education and conservation institution that now serves as a model for other carnivore conservation programmes world-wide. CCF has made significant impact on the cheetah conservation crisis.
Some of CCF’s most important achievements include:
- Mitigating conflict between farmers and cheetahs by introducing innovative, non-lethal predator control strategies, which include the introduction of the livestock guarding dog concept and the advancement of communal and commercial conservancies;
- Stabilising the wild cheetah population in Namibia, and helping it grow from approximately 1,500 in 1990 to more than 2,500 today;
- Training more than 5,000 rural Namibian men and women in agriculture and land management techniques through CCF’s Future Farmers of Africa Programme, to enhance livelihoods and increase understanding of basic conservation principles;
- Impacting more than 450,000 young learners in Namibia through CCF conservation education and outreach programmes;
- Training more than 300 African biologists representing Namibia, South Sudan, Mozambique, Zambia, Algeria, Niger, Benin, Tanzania and Ethiopia in efforts to make species conservation efforts on the continent sustainable over the long term;
- Restoring thousands of hectares of wildlife habitat and farmlands in Namibia by developing an award-winning, biomass fuel product, Bushblok; and
- Creating jobs, driving the eco-tourism industry and generating an estimated 100.3 million NAD annual impact on the country’s economy.
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CONTACT: Dr Laurie Marker
firstname.lastname@example.org / (0) 67 306225 or (0) 811247887
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