OTJIWARONGO, Namibia (9 July 2017) – For the 19th consecutive year, Cheetah Conservation Fund (CCF) celebrated the Speed and Elegance of the cheetah with fellow Namibians at its annual Gala Dinner at the Windhoek Country Club on the 7th of July. Jackie Asheeke, a leading Namibian tourism industry expert and highly regarded social commentator known for her lively personality, served asthe evening’s Mistress of Ceremonies.
The honoured guest speaker was Dr Rogério Cunha de Paula from São Paulo, Brazil, who spoke about his work designing strategies to improve the status of endangered species and reduce conflicts between carnivores and humans in his home country. Dr Cunha de Paula is a biologist and an environmental analyst for the National Research Center for Carnivores Conservation (CENAP) within the Instituto Chico Mendes for the Conservation of Biodiversity, an agency of the Brazilian Environmental Ministry (ICMBio/MMA).
The CCF Gala, a highly-anticipated annual event in Namibian conservation circles, celebrates the cheetah and highlights the strides CCF has made to ensure survival of the cheetah in the wild for future generations. The evening included a candlelight dinner and conservation awards ceremony, bringing together more than 280 guests from the business, conservation, agriculture and government sectors in Namibia and beyond national borders. The silent auction was again a huge success, offering guest more than 120 opportunities to bod on items donated by local and international businesses. The auction items included artwork, jewellery, Namibian craftwork and tourism ‘get-aways’ at exclusive Namibian and international destinations, including stays at the NamibRand Reserve, the Swakopmund Hotel, and CCF’s exclusive Babson Guest House, to name a few.
CCF Founder and Executive Director, Dr Laurie Marker gave a presentation titled “The 2017 State of the Cheetah”, emphasising the need to conserve Namibia’s treasures and foster an economic system where humans can live with wildlife in the natural scope of a healthy, intact and bio-diverse landscape. Dr Marker also presented three 2017 Cheetah Conservation Awards on behalf of the CCF Namibia Board of Directors, recognising those who have made outstanding contributions to conserve the cheetah and the Namibian environment.
The 2017 Cheetah Conservation Fund Sponsorship Recognition Award was given to the Embassy of the Republic of Turkey and the Turkish Cooperation and Coordination Agency (TIKA), for their support of CCF’s Livestock Guarding Dog Programme. The award was accepted by H.E. Mrs. Deniz Cakar, Ambassador of the Republic of Turkey, and Mr. Abdulkadir Abukan, TIKA Namibia Deputy Coordinator.
The 2017 Cheetah Conservation Fund Farmer of the Year was presented to Hendriette Nderura Rukero, for her care and dedication to her livestock guarding dog.
2017 Cheetah Conservation Fund Farm of the Year, Farm Krumhuk. CCF has known and worked closely with Ulf-Dieter Voights and his family since 1991. Farm Krumhuk has been a part of Auas Oanob Conservancy since its inception and an active member of the Conservancy Association of Namibia since 1999. Farm Krumhuk is exemplary for embracing integrated methods for livestock and wildlife farming and being a leader in conservation efforts in Namibia.
Details about each of the award winners follows the Editor’s Notes. Photos and interviews are available by request.