Florian Weise is the lead researcher at the N/a’an ku sê Cheetah and Leopard Research Programme in Namibia. We have been working with Florian for the last few months to develop FIT as a montoring tool for cheetah in Namibia.
Much of Namibia’s land is commercial farmland, and wild cheetah range over this area also. Not surprisingly, many farmers who have lost livestock to cheetah have viewed this endangered species as vermin. The key to success in their conservation lies in finding ways for the farmers and cheetah to co-exist. Monitoring the numbers and distribution of cheetah enables researchers to advise farmers appropriately on protection and engage them in the conservation effort. There are estimated to be fewer than 2,500 cheetah in Namibia, one of the species last strongholds.
Early tests on cheetah footprints at N/a’an ku sê suggest that an FIT algorithm can be developed for this species. N/a’an ku sê is spearheading a continent-wide effort in Africa to engage other cheetah conservation organisations to participate in this effort. We are delighted to have the Cheetah Conservation Fund and AfriCat join us in this initiative.