The cheetah’s lean build gives it the speed and agility that make it famous. However, this rangy physique also means that the cheetah struggles to live alongside bigger cats such as lions in reserves and national parks – the cheetah is too small to compete.
Cheetahs therefore live mostly on non-protected land surrounded by farmers and rural communities. Sharing this land is difficult because farmers perceive cheetahs to be a threat. Human-wildlife conflict is largely responsible for the loss of 90% of the cheetah population (around 90,000 individual cheetahs) during just one century.
Botswana is a remaining stronghold for cheetahs, and Cheetah Conservation Botswana’s main task is improving community perceptions towards the cheetah. Cheetah Conservation Botswana works together with the communities that live side-by-side with cheetahs, creating initiatives tailored to meet community needs and priorities. They aim to allow cheetahs to remain as a flagship species for Botswana and its rich biodiversity.
"Botswana has an incredibly important role to play in cheetah conservation globally. It is one of the last and best hopes for the maintenance of the cheetah population.”
- Rebecca Klein
A Unique Conservation Approach
Cheetah Conservation Botswana’s research studies the speedy cats and innovative methods to conserve them. One such study tested conflict mitigation methods among farmers. Cheetah Conservation Botswana has an ongoing partnership with National Geographic to collar cheetahs with cameras. These cameras will produce video showing a “cheetah’s-eye view” of the world.
Human-Wildlife Conflict Mitigation
At Cheetah Conservation Botswana’s training workshops, farmers learn how to protect their livestock from cheetahs. Techniques include cheetah-proof kraals (corrals) and livestock guard dogs. Farmers can visit a demonstration farm or request site visits from Cheetah Conservation Botswana in which staff members assess the farm and suggest improvements to better guard against predators.
Botswana’s next generation – today’s children – are essential to the future of the cheetah in their country. Cheetah Conservation Botswana’s education team visits around 36 schools a year to teach children about the importance of conservation and the importance of predators such as the cheetah.
Farmers who received site visits last year
Number of livestock guard dogs placed with farmers in 2014
Rebecca grew up all over the world, moving frequently with her adventurous parents. She has always felt as comfortable around animals as she does around people. She moved to Botswana in 2001 to work at the Mokolodi Nature Reserve and while there cared for two orphaned cheetah brothers who had lost their mother to conflict with farmers.
After working with the orphaned cheetahs, Rebecca tried to find an organization dedicated to protecting Botswana’s cheetahs. Upon discovering that there were none, she decided to start Cheetah Conservation Botswana along with Dr. Kyle Good and Ann Marie Houser. She lives in Botswana and hopes that Cheetah Conservation Botswana will help the cheetah remain as the flagship species for the country’s biodiversity.
How You Can Help
Training for Farmers
$150 pays for one mobile livestock protection workshop for 20 farmers.
Livestock Guard Dogs
$700 sponsors the medical treatment, vaccination and sterilization of two livestock guard dogs for one year.
Donations of any amount can help pay for school visits that help children learn the importance of predators and conservation.
When you designate your donation to a specific species, 100% of your donation will go directly to the field to support this species.
Thaki is a female cheetah that used to inhabit a farming area in Botswana, where local communities depend on livestock for a living. Lured by the proximity of cattle, cheetahs like Thaki sometimes feed on the livestock and, in doing so, hinder farmers’ livelihoods.