Changing Planet

Saving Cheetahs & Leopards in Namibia


Namibia has more cheetahs than any other country in the world, but even here these speedy creatures are in a race for their lives. I visited Naankuse, a wildlife rescue center in Namibia that is trying to save the cheetah and other iconic African animals. Cheetahs who will let you scratch their back, a caracal cat that can leap 12 feet in the air, and leopards and wild dogs that escaped a death sentence. These are some of the animals Marlice van Vuuren introduces us to at her Naankuse Wildlife Sanctuary in Namibia. The animals here arrived orphaned or injured and Naankuse’s goal is to return as many as possible to the wild. Those that can’t be released are used for educational purposes. This is part of an interview I did with Marlice for National Geographic Weekend

Boyd Matson, in his work for National Geographic, has been bitten, scratched, or pooped on, and occasionally kissed by most of the creatures found at your local zoo. What he refers to as his job, others might describe as a career spent attending summer camp for adults.

Currently Matson is the host of the weekly radio show, “National Geographic Weekend.” Conducting interviews from the studio and from the field, Matson connects with some of the greatest explorers and adventurers on the planet to transport listeners to the far corners of the world and to the hidden corners of their own backyards.

Matson also writes about his experiencs in his monthly column, “Boyd Matson Unbound” for National Geographic Traveler magazine, produces videos for National Geographic.com, and serves as a spokesperson for the National Geographic Society.

  • mattie

    I have just watched this wonderful video about animal conservation in Namibia with great joy. I had the privilege of being on military duty in Windhoek, autumn 89 – Jan 90, for their independence vote. Whilst there I had the absolute privilege to be in the presence of and place my hand on a cheetah’s back – truly nature’s fastest animal on land, and yet I knew my place – giving respect without treading upon the natural environment of all, whose established reason to be on this earth is equally important to human beings.

  • mattie

    I have just watched this wonderful video about animal conservation in Namibia with great joy. I had the privilege of being on military duty in Windhoek, autumn 89 – Jan 90, for their independence vote. Whilst there I had the absolute privilege to be in the presence of and place my hand on a cheetah’s back – truly nature’s fastest animal on land, and yet I knew my place – giving respect without treading upon the natural environment of all, whose established reason to be on this earth is equally important to human beings.

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