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Thursday, November 26, 2009

Anatolian Sheep Dog & Cheetah Conservation

Cheetah and many other smaller predators are held responsible for farmers’ livestock deaths. Some are to blame but this has resulted in many cheetah being shot at or killed unnecessarily. There is a win-win solution in the form of the Anatolian Sheep Dog.
Anatolian Shepherd dogs are used by Dr Laurie Marker of the Cheetah Conservation Fund and others in the ongoing efforts to prevent cheetahs which have attacked livestock being killed by farmers. These dogs are bred and then given to the farmers to use in protecting and guarding their livestock from cheetah attacks.
The Anatolian sheep dog is spread worldwide, originating in Turkey, and protecting livestock from wolves and other predators for 6,000 years. They have been used in southern Africa for the past fifteen years. These large white dogs (80 Kgs/200 Lbs) live with flocks of sheep, goats or herds of cattle. Unfortunately they have a relatively short life span of less than ten years and are subject to hip dysplasia. They are bred at various breeding centers in South Africa and puppies are placed with farmers in South Africa, Botswana and Namibia. One dog is placed per flock and spends its entire life with the sheep or goats believing that it is one of them but protecting them and driving off predators.
To date, over 275 Kangal Anatolian Shepherd have been born and placed on Namibian farmlands by the Cheetah Conservation Fund/CCF. The system is working well with farmers’ reporting large declines in livestock losses and no longer resorting to shooting or poisoning the wild life.
It's ironic that man's best friend is now inadvertently a big cat's best friend!

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