CHEETAH OUTREACH TRUST: LIVESTOCK GUARD DOG PROJECT: NEWSFLASH FEBRUARY AND MARCH 2018 – WESTERN TERRITORY – CYRIL STANNARD
The year has definitely started off with a bang in the Western territory of the Cheetah Outreach Livestock Guarding Dog (LGD) Programme. There were 21 puppies born at the Irwin’s Guardian breeding facility and this gave us a running start to the year.
Cheetah Outreach placed eight puppies in the Western Territory of the cheetah range, with six of these puppies placed on new farms. One of the pups was placed on a farm that borders onto the well-known Madikwe Game Reserve in the Northwest Province. He will be guarding his herd of cattle in this very remote part of the province against predation predominantly from leopard but also cheetah and African Wild Dog. This puppy will need all the support we can give him to develop into an effective livestock guardian as well as the spirit and heart of a lion, to ensure the safety of his herd against the predators that occur in the area. The last two pups were placed on farms which already has a working established LGD; one is retiring soon and the second needs assistance to guard a large flock in an area where cheetah numbers are high. The puppies are all doing well and have settled in with their respective flocks.
The extra ordinary high summer temperatures have abated after the recent rains, giving the older dogs a bit of a respite since the livestock don’t have to roam over great distances to graze any more due to the flourishing grass that has appeared due to the rain. However with the good rains comes an increased load of ticks. The herders and farmers now have to take extra effort to keep the dogs clean of ticks as their bites can cause serious irritation, wounds and in worst cases – infection. Cheetah Outreach provides all the support to the owners and the dogs by providing Bravecto and other preventative dips to prevent high tick loads on the livestock guarding dogs.
Cheetah Outreach initiated a cooperative project in conjunction with Bushmanskloof Wilderness Reserve, a part of the Red Carnation Hotel Group, in the Clanwilliam district in the Western Cape. The aim of the project is to assist their neighbours in guarding their livestock against predation, mainly from Cape leopards – a unique endemic population of this species which occurs in the specific area. The cooperative project is a five year partnership between Cheetah Outreach and the Bushmanskloof Wilderness Reserve, with 5 dogs placed annually on farms around Bushmanskloof each year. The success of the livestock guarding dog placements is very important to the conservation of the Cape Leopard in this area by providing an alternate to indiscriminate and lethal methods for protecting livestock currently used by some farmers. The first three puppies where placed at the end of January on two farms bordering the Bushmanskloof Wilderness Reserve. Two of the puppies were placed on the farms of Dr Jas Strauss, a prominent farmer and local medical doctor, where they will be guarding Dorper sheep against predation. Jas has had previous experience with livestock guarding dogs so these pups will have a great start with an experienced handler. He has suffered recent losses due to leopard predation, so he is eager for these pups to grow up and become working dogs. The third pup was placed on a farm managed by the Travelers Rest Workers Trust. The workers have their own flock of Meat-master sheep and any losses are a huge hit for them so they will also be benefiting from the project to ensure the safety of their flock. This will make life a little easier for them and help ensure their financial future. These placements are being conducted outside of free range cheetah areas. Bushmanskloof Wilderness Reserve management approached Cheetah Outreach due to our reputation of successful placements of Livestock Guarding Dogs within the cheetah range, to establish the cooperative project and we were more than willing to assist in this important project focused on the conservation of the Cape Leopard. This fits perfectly into one of the objectives of Cheetah Outreach which is to establish a culture of using Livestock Guarding Dogs as a predator management tool in South Africa. The project is funded by the Bushmanskloof Wilderness Reserve.
The Cheetah Outreach Trust would like to thank all of our supporters and donors. The work we do will not be possible without the ongoing support of each and everyone of you.
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