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Kenya’s Problematic Progress

Driving on a Friday night from the idyllic campsite to a local farm for an after-dark game count, Action for Cheetahs (ACK) lead researcher Cosmas Wambua navigates a treacherous highway. The notorious Mombassa Road is a twisting, turning, death-ridden mess of an international highway. Bitterly joking we’re on a ‘lorry safari’, sightings include burned-out overturned…

Tech & the Cheetah

Some regions of Kenya have better cell phone reception than the heart of San Francisco’s financial district.  This is no exaggeration.  One can easily make a call or text from the Maasai Mara National Reserve.  It’s changed the country’s economy, society in both rural and urban areas, and launched millions of voices onto Twitter and…

The Cheetah, the Maasai & the Tourist

The wildebeest are on high alert.  Following their gaze I see two male cheetah staring back at them.  Their cover blown, one brother turns in the opposite direction to consider the nearby topi.  The topi are having none it.  They walk toward the cheetah, facing them down.  Between two herds of prey, the cheetah brothers…

Mamma Cheetah’s Outreach in Samburu

“Mamma Cheetah!”  someone shouts at us from the crowds of people strolling through the dusty streets.  The Action for Cheetahs in Kenya team just filled up the truck and is pulling out of the rough–n-tumble town of Isiolo.  Whoever enthusiastically shouted out to the cheetah team was never seen, but it was not entirely unexpected. …

Breaking Bad: Poachers on the Loose in Kenya

While in Kenya this July, in Samburu County, working on a story about cheetahs, photographer Marcy Mendelson heard news of an elephant slain for its tusks. “One of the men with us was close to tears, and I was in shock at how close to this story I’d just become,” Mendelson writes.

San Style: Dancing in Botswana

You never know what you’ll encounter in your travels.  During my time reporting on Cheetah Conservation Botswana’s work, I headed to the town of Ghanzi to get supplies and run a few errands with CCB’s camp manager. Right when we arrived, the Botswana National Youth Council was staging a huge outreach festival in the town…

The Cheetah & The San Bushmen of Botswana

While traveling with Cheetah Conservation Botswana, I had the rare experience to meet the Nai Nai San Bushmen of the Central Kalahari. The name Nai Nai translates directly as “people of the bush” thus they consider themselves to be the true bushmen.  This small family group is one of many who travel through the area…

The Cheetah in Kenya

In the last three years I’ve worked tirelessly meeting people in the field of cheetah conservation both at home in California and in the countries where the cheetah still roam their natural habitat.  From the ambassadors of their species in the United States to the wild cats of Botswana, Namibia and South Africa, the journey…

We are Cheetah Friendly – Part II

  “We are cheetah friendly”.  The sign hangs on the gates of farms who participate in Cheetah Outreach’s Livestock Guardian Dog Program.  In a land where commercial farming has encroached on wildlife for generations, certain NGOs and farmers are working together to create new ways of solving the problems of predation.  Cheetah Outreach comes not…

We are Cheetah Friendly – Part I

  “Howzit?  How are the cheetahs?” ask my new friends in Cape Town. “I’m going to Bray for a few days.”  “Where??”  When even a South African hasn’t heard of this place, I know I’m in for another adventure.  Bray is a frontier post located 200 meters from the border of Botswana in the Southern…

Cheetahs in Wine Country: Outreach South African Style

Tourists traveling in the Cape Town area of South Africa often make the scenic drive through wine country, which is where Cheetah Outreach is located.  Founded in 1997 by Annie Beckhelling, Cheetah Outreach started off as an educational project, bringing ambassador cheetahs to the public.  Since then, it has grown to a facility that trains…

The Return of the Cheetah

Deep in the Karoo of South Africa’s Eastern Cape is a land starting over.  The air is dry, the ground recovering from drought, and on high plateaus great plains of golden grass are home to large herds of zebra, red hartebeest, blesbuck and wildebeest.  The animals never descend to the bushland below which is also…

Namibia’s Future: AfriCat’s Vision

AfriCat (& Okonjima Lodge) is a family affair.  The Hanssens, a Namibian farming family, settled on the property of Okonjima in the 1970s.  They experienced first-hand the hardships and the rewards of cattle farming in Namibia.  Unique insiders to the region, in contrast to most NGOs who arrive new on the scene, the Hanssens are…

The Cheetah Think Tank

The Cheetah Conservation Fund, headquartered in Otjiworongo, Namibia, is a recognized leader in the field of big cat conservation.  CCF is known for many projects, especially their captive cheetah population which number over fifty, some that can be returned to the wild, some that, for a variety of circumstances, cannot.  This creates the specialized need…

In the Land of the Desert Cheetah: Part II

Imagine four people; one researcher, two volunteers and myself in pursuit of wildlife on foot across an expanse so large it defies description.  We’re searching for Lilly, the translocated cheetah and her cubs.  Rising before dawn for the second day in a row, we drive to one of the most remote spots in NamibRand (well,…