From rescue and release to rehabilitation, research, conservation through education and community support!
How time flies. AfriCat has reached 21 years and has come a long way in those 21 years.
For the past 21 years, AfriCat has been a toddler and a teen – stumbled, fallen and righted itself knowing that its parents, the HANSSEN family, were there to guide it to adulthood and beyond. As ‘parents’, we have, at times, worried and pondered about AfriCat’s future as a credible conservation organization, having shifted from small beginnings as a farming family trying to find solutions to predator conflict on a small cattle farm in central Namibia, sharing our success story with others, which included using our research data and common sense to find ways to ‘live with predators’, then becoming a safe-haven to a number of persecuted cheetah, leopard, caracal, spotted and brown hyaena as well as to lion and wild dog. Almost 21 years on, with more than 100 carnivores in our Care Centre and little proof that those we had released had survived, the most disconcerting of all was that few commercial (free-hold) farmers had taken heed, except for using AfriCat as a keen collector of perceived or real ‘problem’ cheetah and leopard, filling our sanctuary with mostly healthy animals which should be allowed to roam free!
With the merging of Afri-Leo with AfriCat in 2010, the sister-organization based along the borders of the Etosha National Park brought with it elements of human-wildlife conflict mitigation and community support within the communal conservancies and wilderness areas, reiterating the need for conservation education for young and old, marking the turning point from Rescue & Release to ‘Conservation Through Education’ and Community Support.
This year, as we celebrate AfriCat’s coming of age, the Hanssen siblings Tammy, Wayne, Donna and Rosalea, are reminded of our humble beginnings guided by our parents, Val & Rose Hanssen, who gave us the greatest gift one could give a child: ‘to love the land and all the wilderness and to leave it a better place than we found it’.
Join us as we page through AfriCat’s Album 1993-2014, as we are proud of what AfriCat has become. (full story and photos of those 21 years!)