CLAYTON — Brian Badger, Director of Conservation and Outreach from the Cheetah Conservation Fund (CCF) presented in-depth lectures focused on methods to save African wildlife to both the junior and senior Veterinary Science classes at Miami Valley Career Technology Center on March 9.
Instructor Dr. Christa Nealeigh invited Badger to speak for their career development event covering many aspects of animal welfare, behavior and husbandry. Badger, who is originally from London, has spent the last decade helping wildlife including lions, leopards and cheetahs, most recently in Namibia which is in southwest Africa. He kicked off his 2017 spring lecture tour at the local technical school and talked about CCF’s holistic conservation work in Namibia that incorporates the land, people and wildlife into a renowned program that is saving the world’s fastest cat from extinction. Namibia is a dry savannah comprised of vast amounts of private farmland typically used to graze cattle.
Farming livestock is the primary and only achievable way for many native residents to feed their families. Water and grass is so sparse it takes about 25-30 acres to graze one cow. This farmland is actually what the rest of the world refers to as the “wild” and must be shared between not only livestock, but the thousands of wild animals that cross over it daily including antelope, baboon, giraffe, rhino, lion, leopard and jackal. Badger’s lecture tells of the many initiatives to not only make farmers more productive, but how to minimize the conflict that happens when predators like the cheetah reside and hunt on the farms. Human-wildlife conflict is the number one threat against the cheetah.
CCF has an onsite veterinary and genetics department that rescues injured, trapped and orphaned cheetahs, releasing many back to the wild equipped with a GPS tracking collar. Their center provides local education and employment, eco-tourism and habitat restoration. Badger detailed how all this components tie together to make their multi-faceted approach “holistic” conservation.
Badger is also heading to Houston, Dallas, Colorado, California, New York and Pittsburg for lectures at zoos, colleges and conventions. To learn more about CCF and Brian’s lecture tours, visit cheetah.org
When Brian is not traveling internationally delivering conservation lectures, he resides in Lewisburg with his newlywed wife Amanda on their local 31-acre educational farm, Wild Hearts Zoo — African Farm & Petting Zoo.