Environmental education plays a key role in Cheetah Conservation Fund’s (CCF) mission. CCF believes that public education and the development of national pride and international concern for the cheetah are critical to its survival, and therefore educates farmers, teachers, and the public about methods to conserve biodiversity and about the role of the cheetah and other predators in healthy ecosystems. CCF’s Education program includes:
CCF’s International Research Conservation
And Education Center
In central Namibia, CCF operates a Field Research and Education Center to conduct formal and informal education programs. The Center is open to the public daily and offers educational activities, programs for visiting school groups, and training for Namibian and foreign university students.
CCF’s education center and Cheetah Museum displays are designed around CCF’s scientific research findings and provide detailed information about the cheetah: its history, physiology, importance within the ecosystem, conflict with humans, and what CCF is doing to ensure the species’ survival for future generations.
CCF’s Education Team presents two-day or longer environmental courses for school groups with overnight accommodation provided at the CCF educational campsites. Since 2000, over 15,000 students have participated in these courses at the Center. In addition to school groups, regional youth groups, youth officials, teachers, health officials and farmers participate in specially designed programs at CCF’s Center.
School Outreach Programs
Along with educational activities conducted at the Center, CCF’s Education Team presents outreach programs at schools and community events throughout Namibia. Since 1994, over 300,000 students have participated in a CCF outreach program.
Farmer Training And Community Outreach
As 90 percent of Namibia’s wild cheetahs live on farmlands and come into conflict with farmers, livestock and game farming interests, CCF conducts a specific environmental education program for the farming community. CCF makes presentations at individual farms, farmers’ association meetings and agricultural shows, highlighting proven cheetah behavioral characteristics and predator-friendly livestock management techniques.
CCF’s Education Team conducts week-long training courses for communal conservancies, emerging and re-settled farmers, and extension officers. CCF’s courses are aimed at improving understanding of farming production principles and systems as well as providing hands-on training. Topics include cattle husbandry, herd and veld management, disease and vaccination programs, business principles and inventorying conservancy resources. Other topics include basic conservation training on sustainable wildlife utilization and the role and value of predators, predator kill identification and other ‘predator-friendly’ farming practices. Over 3,000 participants have undergone training at CCF’s Center. Several training courses are conducted each year.
International Training Courses
Cheetah conservation is interconnected to social, economic, and environmental factors which are of national concern. The next generation of African conservation managers must be equipped with the best training available. CCF has hosted several education and conservation biology courses for wildlife professionals. Collaborative partners include the Howard G. Buffett Foundation, the Smithsonian Institution and the Namibian Ministry of Higher Education. Over 300 Namibian and international course participants have completed courses on natural resource management, environmental education, conservation biology, game capture, and integrated wildlife, livestock and predator management.