Namibia is home to six large carnivore species including cheetahs, leopards, lions, spotted hyaenas, brown hyaenas and wild dogs. The majority of these species are in conflict with people as Namibia is largely a livestock and game farming community.
Based on the 55000-acre Okonjima conservancy, south of Otjiwarongo in central Namibia, the AfriCat Foundation was founded in the early 90’s and formally registered as a non-profit organisation in August 1993. AfriCat has since grown significantly and what started out primarily as a welfare organisation has over the years identified the need to include a focus on education and research as being essential to accomplishing its mission – the long-term conservation of Namibia’s large carnivores.
The AfriCat Foundation’s main focus areas are:
* To creat awareness and promote the tolerance of large carnivores among the farming community by assisting farmers in effective farm management techniques, including targeting problem predators as opposed to indiscriminate removal.
* To educate youth about large carnivores and environmental awareness.
* To research large carnivores, particularly cheetahs and leopards, on farmland and in captivity.
* To provide humane housing, treatment and care for orphaned and injured animals.
Over the last 14 years AfriCat has rescued more than 900 cheetahs and leopards. Over 85% of these big cats have been released back into the wild. The Foundation rescues and average of 70 cheetahs and leopards a year that have been trapped on farms throughout Namibia. It is AfriCat’s aim to return as many cats as possible to their natural environment – only those that are unable to be released remain in AfriCat’s care.