Tuesday, November 6, 2012

The Cheetah Conservation Fund: Helping Animals to Help Other Animals!

Jambo Everyone is committed to conservation and helping to save the animals that make our experience at Disney’s Animal Kingdom so great.  We have launched our Jambo Everyone Conservation Effort and part of that effort is to keep you informed, here in our news page, on the work of those organizations we have been honored to work with. 

image copyright Cheetah Conservation Fund

The Cheetah Conservation Fund (CCF) has many programs aimed at saving the world’s cheetah population.  One of those is a fascinating program called the Livestock Guarding Dog Program.

Cheetahs face many different threats in the wild, but one of the biggest is from humans, specifically farmers looking to protect their livestock from predators.  However, the cheetah lives in a world with serious competition for prey from other local predators of the four-legged variety.   As a result they are often forced towards livestock and that makes them a target.

The CCF is working with farmers on non-lethal ways of protecting livestock from cheetahs, and one of those ways is through the use of guard dogs.  The organization breeds and places to farms in Africa a rather large breed of dog called the Kangal Anatolian Shepherd.  This ancient breed of shepherd has been protecting livestock in Europe for ages.  Males often weigh well over 100 pounds and can bark up a storm, making them the perfect tool for farmers to keep their livestock safe from predators, including cheetahs, who would much rather move on than take a chance against these canines.
image copyright Cheetah Conservation Fund

Dogs begin their work as puppies, placed with livestock at an early age so they can create a bond with the animals they are meant to keep safe.  According to the CCF, the Livestock Guarding Dog Program has so far placed over 300 dogs to farms in Namibia and can report an 80% decrease in livestock attacks as a result.  It is a progressive and effective way to make sure farmers, livestock and wildlife can all exist together.

So basically, we can help the CFF to help animals help other animals.  (That sentence is easier to write than speak!)  Talk about your great “circle of life” moments!  Cheetahs are undeniably a fascinating and majestic animal, but they are in trouble.  Do we really want the planet’s fastest runner to disappear??

To read more about the CFF, the issues facing cheetahs and to donate, visit our Conservation Page and follow the links.

by Dave McBride @davemcb1897

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