(27 March 2012, Johannesburg) The cheetah and wild dog conservation efforts in southern Africa are making significant strides, with the Zambian, Botswana, Zimbabwean and Namibian authorities agreeing to counter the effects of smaller ranging areas due to human development. In order to increase the awareness of the threatened carnivores and to reach the respective political decision makers, Continental Outdoor Media donated key out of home media platforms in those countries to the Zoological Society's African coordinator Dr Gianetta Purchase.
"There was much-needed awareness about the conflict between large predators of Africa and the human communities they coexist with. Wide ranging species such as cheetah are particularly under threat by poachers and communities killing them for food. We worked closely with a passionate task team which has delivered great results," says Adelaide McKelvey, Sales and Marketing director, Continental Outdoor Media.
"The outdoor advertising campaign has helped us tremendously in implementing our Rangewide Conservation Planning Process. We have educated key people about the fact that conservation efforts have to be directed to where humans and wildlife co-exist. In essence, our protected areas are too small to conserve viable populations," said Dr Purchase.
A few successes to date:
Purchase met with the Malawian Director of National Parks and the Zambian Wildlife Authority. Restoration of cheetah will not be confined to Malawi but will extend to the entire eastern complex of protected areas and other suitable habitat in Zambia.
At the beginning of the year the Alliance Française de Bulawayo offered to help keep the "Song of the Carnivore" project in people's mind in Zimbabwe by hosting a series of lectures and talks at schools. The Alliance Française de Bulawayo have also provided funding for an art competition, where the schools taking part in the lecture series will be encouraged to submit posters on the theme "Save them, don't lose them".
The last piece of the puzzle has been put together for cheetah and wild dog conservation. The regional planning workshop for cheetah and wild dog conservation in North, West and Central Africa took place in January and was very successful. The final range maps for the two species are being compiled.