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Dogs Help Cheetahs

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This is Caesar, an Anatolian sheep dog. His ancestors were bred in Turkey, to guard sheep and fight wolves. But this intrepid dog is in Namibia, an arid land far from his native home. Here,Caesar faces not wolves, but cheetahs. And he is not supposed to fight them, but to help them. It is estimated there are fewer than 3,000 cheetahs left in the country. And these survivors are under threat from farmers who may kill them for stalking their livestock. I came here first in 1977. At that point in time, I found out there was a great deal of conflict between the farmers and the cheetahs. And, doing cheetah research at that period of time, I realized that if we did have a hope for the cheetah to survive in the wild, then maybe it was the best chance. It has land, it has wild game, and I believe that there is opportunities that farmers and cheetahs can live together for the future. Naturalist Laurie Marker is co-founder of the Cheetah Conservation Fund. The organization provides farmers with dogs that protect flocks, without hurting cheetahs. Anatolians are perfect for the assignment. After two years of research, the livestock guiding dog that was best suited for the farmers' needs, as well as the area that they have to work in, was the Anatolian. the dog is a very independent thinking dog, which was another characteristic that... why it was chosen. It has 6,000 years of instincts. It will do exactly what has to be done. Like other dogs in the program, Caeser was placed with a herd as a puppy, and was raised with the livestock, without much human contact. He stays with his herd 24/7. At first it was difficult to convince rural farmers that owning and feeding a dog could be beneficial. But more than 250 dogs have gone to work since the program began. And cheetah mortality is dropping. Now many farmers have stopped using poison bait because of the dogs. The dogs in training are free, as is vet care. The people actually do see the benefit of the dog, and now they are now taking care of the dog very well. And because they see the benefit... that if they take care of the dog properly, the dog is going to do its job properly. The dog project has been very very successful. Over 90% of the farmers are extremely pleased. We've reduced livestock loss, so that farmers that do have the dogs do not have livestock loss. Not only to the cheetah, but to other predators. Laurie also runs a refuge for injured or orphaned cheetahs. The goal is to return them to the wild. But some are not able to survive on their own. Instead, they become part of an education program, to promote cheetah conservation. Through our education programs, through our farm management programs, all of these are ways that we can help the cheetah. Where people, if they learn more about the cheetah and its needs, and ways that the cheetah and people can live together, that there is a chance that the species can survive on earth. Turkish dogs and African cheetahs, two animals worlds apart. Brought together for the sake of peaceful coexistence.

Video Details

Duration: 3 minutes and 58 seconds
Country: United States
Language: English
Producer: National Geographic
Director: National Geographic
Views: 110
Posted by: greenbo on Apr 30, 2011

Instead of shooting menacing cheetahs, farmers learn that keeping guard dogs is a better way to protect their farms.

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