Cheetahs prefer open plains, where their speed and binocular vision play to their advantage in outsmarting their prey and competitors. Due to encroaching thorny thicket areas, cheetahs become easy targets for other predators and are forced to hunt in leopard territory, which often try to kill them. This makes AfriCat’s rehabilitation of captive cheetahs challenging. We aim to create natural habitat boundaries between predators through the mechanical removal of invader bush and thicket, so cheetahs can lay claim to the open plains, while leopards roam the riverine thickets.
Mechanical removal can clear around 7ha daily, but carries a hefty price tag and can also damage the soil while taking with it vital grass species too, which makes it a costly operation in terms of funding and conservation. The time-consuming and labour-intensive manual method is preferred in areas where care needs to be taken during selective de-bushing. The reserve works to retain high grasses, which are a useful resource and source of employment for many Namibians.
Through the ongoing conservation and debushing efforts, Okonjima hopes to preserve this part of Namibia for centuries to come, so that it is always a peaceful African safari retreat for our visitors.