Cheetah Outreach
Cheetah Outreach

Promoting the survival of the free ranging, Southern African cheetah through environmental education and delivering conservation initiatives.
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 Livestock Guarding Dog Project, South Africa

As a result of the success of Cheetah Conservation Fund's livestock guarding dog programme in Namibia, a trial programme was launched by De Wildt's Wild Cheetah Management Project (WCMP) and Cheetah Outreach in 2005 to introduce the Anatolian shepherd to serve farmers in South Africa. To give this trial the best possible chance of success, farmers were carefully selected and given an information booklet outlining introduction and management strategies for their dogs, collated from CCF literature and experiences, as well as veterinary protocols to ensure health. For optimal results, dogs need to be fit. To promote a good working diet and veterinary care, costs are sponsored by the programme for the first year. The rest is in the hands of the farmer who must invest interest during the initial critical period. This will often be the deciding factor that ensures success in the rearing of a productive guarding dog.

Since the programme was implemented, Anatolian guard dogs have been placed on farms in cheetah range in Limpopo and North West Provinces, where they have reduced livestock losses from 95 to 100%. Though mostly used to guard sheep and goats, for the first time in southern Africa, some dogs have been used to successfully guard cattle and in one instance, wild game.

In 2013 the Livestock Guarding Dog Project was expanded and split into 2 territories, West and East. Deon Cilliers, very experienced in human-predator conflict mitigation, was hired as a second Anatolian field coordinator. Deon places and monitors Anatolians in Territory East (Limpopo Province) while Cyril Stannard continues to place and monitor Anatolians in Territory West (North West Province).

A huge thank you to Wildlife Warriors Worldwide for sponsorship of the Anatolian Pilot and Breeding Programmes - without their wonderful help we would not be able to reach forward with this very important and yet simple solution to cheetah management on farms.

 

Some stories about the Anatolians we have placed on South African farms illustrate how devoted  this breed is in protecting their livestock.

Beska was in a fight with a caracal or brown hyena and was seriously wounded, but still brought his herd home safely without any losses.

Crickey was attacked by a leopard when he was only  7 months old, and had serious wounds, but none of his herd was lost. When returning from the vet, he was kept in the farm house to recover, but “broke out” the first night and walked  14 km back to his herd.

Boleyn did not return with her herd one night and only returned much later with a goat and newborn kid.  The farmer reported that Boleyn carried the kid from the veld back to the kraal.  Boleyn’s goats soon repaid her for her devotion when she got trapped in a snare.  With the snare wrapped around her neck, she was unable to move, and the farmer spent 24 hours looking for her when she and the goats didn’t return at night.  He finally spotted the herd of goats gathered around something.  When he approached he saw that they were surrounding the stricken Boleyn, protecting her as she had protected them.   They saved her life.

Uthaya
had an old and sickly ewe in his herd.  One very hot day the herder observed him gently taking her by the back of the neck and dragging her from the heat into the shade.

 
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