Marcy Mendelson

While traveling with Cheetah Conservation Botswana, I had the rare experience to meet the Nai Nai San Bushmen of the Central Kalahari. The name Nai Nai translates directly as “people of the bush” thus they consider themselves to be the true bushmen.  This small family group is one of many who travel through the area...

In the last three years I’ve worked tirelessly meeting people in the field of cheetah conservation both at home in California and in the countries where the cheetah still roam their natural habitat.  From the ambassadors of their species in the United States to the wild cats of Botswana, Namibia and South Africa, the journey...

  “We are cheetah friendly”.  The sign hangs on the gates of farms who participate in Cheetah Outreach’s Livestock Guardian Dog Program.  In a land where commercial farming has encroached on wildlife for generations, certain NGOs and farmers are working together to create new ways of solving the problems of predation.  Cheetah Outreach comes not...

  “Howzit?  How are the cheetahs?” ask my new friends in Cape Town. “I’m going to Bray for a few days.”  “Where??”  When even a South African hasn’t heard of this place, I know I’m in for another adventure.  Bray is a frontier post located 200 meters from the border of Botswana in the Southern...

Tourists traveling in the Cape Town area of South Africa often make the scenic drive through wine country, which is where Cheetah Outreach is located.  Founded in 1997 by Annie Beckhelling, Cheetah Outreach started off as an educational project, bringing ambassador cheetahs to the public.  Since then, it has grown to a facility that trains...

Deep in the Karoo of South Africa’s Eastern Cape is a land starting over.  The air is dry, the ground recovering from drought, and on high plateaus great plains of golden grass are home to large herds of zebra, red hartebeest, blesbuck and wildebeest.  The animals never descend to the bushland below which is also...

AfriCat (& Okonjima Lodge) is a family affair.  The Hanssens, a Namibian farming family, settled on the property of Okonjima in the 1970s.  They experienced first-hand the hardships and the rewards of cattle farming in Namibia.  Unique insiders to the region, in contrast to most NGOs who arrive new on the scene, the Hanssens are...

The Cheetah Conservation Fund, headquartered in Otjiworongo, Namibia, is a recognized leader in the field of big cat conservation.  CCF is known for many projects, especially their captive cheetah population which number over fifty, some that can be returned to the wild, some that, for a variety of circumstances, cannot.  This creates the specialized need...

Imagine four people; one researcher, two volunteers and myself in pursuit of wildlife on foot across an expanse so large it defies description.  We’re searching for Lilly, the translocated cheetah and her cubs.  Rising before dawn for the second day in a row, we drive to one of the most remote spots in NamibRand (well,...

I’m not entirely convinced this isn’t a death march.  It’s high noon in the oldest desert on earth.  Glancing down at the red sand to see a beetle burrowing back under, saving itself from the scorching heat, I’m transported to a long lost nature program viewed from the comfort of a ‘70s wood-paneled family room...

In Namibia, I visited a foundation with their ear to the ground on the latest technological developments in conservation.  From cyber-stalking their GPS collared cheetah via Google Earth and Sirtrack to scanning footprints (spoor) into an analytical database, N/a’an ku sê Foundation is combining new tech with on-the-ground analogue (so to speak) work in the...

I asked Cheetah Conservation Botswana’s researcher, Jane Horgan, why they needed to capture and collar a female cheetah. “We wanted home range and movement data to look at the movements of cheetahs through the Ghanzi farmlands. Information about how far they move in a day, how large their home ranges are, how long they stay...

My first day in the field with Cheetah Conservation Botswana staff, I met Keith. Manager of the Ko Mogotlhong Game Farm, he drove up with his work crew to check out our activities. Since CCB has many camera traps on the farm in addition to the cage trap, I meet Keith a number of times. ...

The latest from cheetah country comes to you in 3 parts:   Part I: Ghanzi District, Botswana. Late October, 2011 – Cheetah Conservation Botswana               It is Sunday at last, time to rest.  A lazy feeling takes hold of cheetah camp, even Murphy is pretty low key and Cat...

These people work hard out here; the conservationists, the farmers, everyone.  The hot days of October dictate an early rise to reach the far-flung locations that entail research, data gathering and community outreach. I’m in the central Kalahari region, just outside the town of Ghanzi in Botswana.  It’s hot, like… Africa hot… as the cliché...