The Debswana Diamond Mining Company has committed P 250 000.00 to the Jwaneng-based Cheetah Conservation Botswana (CCB) programme that is aimed at protecting the cheetah population.
The move is aimed at reducing conflict between cheetahs and livestock farmers, as well as improving the attitudes of the farming community and their methods of predator control. It is also part of the global initiative to conserve┬ápredators.
“In protected areas, cheetahs are often overpowered by a high population of stronger predators and end up being pushed out onto unprotected┬áland. In Botswana, livestock and game farmers, who often see them as pests, threaten their survival. Botswana has one of the last viable, free-ranging populations of cheetahs in the world, hence the need to protect them,” head of Corporate Communications at Debswana, Jacob Sesinyi said.
CCB is renowned internationally and attracts people from all over the world and most visitors going to Jwaneng Mine also tour Jwana Park to get an appreciation of the project.
The project, which started in 2003, is based at Mokolodi Nature Reserve while the main research camp is situated at Jwana Game Reserve in Jwaneng, Southern Kalahari, with a satellite research camp in the Ghanzi farmlands.
Rebecca Klein of CCB said through Mokolodi Education Centre and Jwana Park Educational Centre, the CCB educates the youth, as well as members of the community who visit these centers, about the importance of these predators and also encourages them to view cheetahs as an important national resource.
To further encourage the positive spirit towards the predators, CCB also spreads cheetah conservation messages to teachers through organized teacher training workshops at Mokolodi Nature Reserve Education Centre and Jwana Park Educational Centre.
Sesinyi said Debswana’s assistance towards this project is in line with the company’s values: Show We Care, which means that “The people whose lives we touch, their communities, nations and the environment we share, all matter deeply to us. We will always think through the consequences of what we do so that our contribution to the world is real, lasting and makes us proud.”