Monday, May 27, 2013

The Tsavo Cheetah Project (TCP).

Tsavo Cheetah Project (TCP) which was commenced in April 2011, by the Principle Investigator, Cherie Schroff. The long-term project works in affiliation with Felidae Conservation Fund and Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) under a research permit which covers the 40,000 km? Tsavo Ecosystem, from the National Council of Science and Technology. TCP is independently registered in Kenya as a national NGO. Prior to implementation, the last scientific cheetah population assessment for the Tsavo region was in 1990, when Paule Gros estimated cheetah numbers in and surrounding Kenya?s protected areas. At a total estimate of 793 cheetahs, 55% was based in Tsavo (Gros 1998). The Tsavo cheetah population along with connecting populations (Mara and Serengeti) makes up one of two globally important cheetah populations in Kenya and one of four in East Africa. The resident Tsavo cheetah population is part of a larger trans-boundary population, where subpopulations in Tsavo, Maasailand, and the Maasai Mara, connect through contiguous areas of Tanzania. In addition to the significance of Tsavo to these connecting populations, the Tsavo ecosystem is recognized as hosting a large and significant cheetah population, in the country’s national strategic plan for the species. This project supports multiple objectives, goals, targets and activities, as outlined in the National Conservation and Management Strategy for Cheetah and Wild dog (2010).

What they are doing:
The aim of TCP is to protect and conserve the Tsavo ecosystem cheetah population with a multifaceted, holistic approach. As a long-term project in Kenya, The Tsavo Cheetah Project monitors cheetahs for trend and threat information on an ongoing basis. TCP employees standardized cheetah monitoring techniques, including direct sightings, our tourists and park staff assisted photographic survey, camera traps, and spoor tracking. Within Tsavo East National Park, the project is also working with KWS to combat off-road driving and cheetah harassment, which has the potential to threaten the cheetah’s chances of survival through behavior alteration.
Since its inception in mid-2011, the project has conducted interviews with residents living on the periphery of the park to compile data on cheetah sightings and conflict issues. We conduct verifications on livestock predation and investigate reports on the retaliatory killing of cheetahs. Education is a key component to cheetah conservation in the Tsavo region. Therefore engaging communities on the proper identification and differentiation between spotted cat species and specific predator behavior, coupled with on-site assistance on livestock husbandry improvement, are critical ongoing activities of TCP. All field activities in Tsavo East will continue throughout the park and adjacent land, eventually expanding with added staff throughout the ecosystem to assess cheetah population threats and demographic trends overtime.

What they Need & What You Get
The requested total amount of $5,000 is estimated to cover a three month period (July ? September) in the field, including vehicle rental pending award for vehicle purchase
? Vehicle hire / petrol / maintenance fees (only a few activities can actually be done on foot; this is lion and elephant habitat, too, and a vast area)
? Camp and sustenance (yes, we require food and shelter, on the lowest possible budget)
? Local assistant salary for cheetah education program implementation (essential for cultural issues, language barriers and capacity building)
? ?A Tsavo Cheetah?s Ecosystem? educational materials for local schools and community visits where conflict exists (it?s important to make it fun, interesting and engaging for local children and adult residents).
If any donor wants these costs broken down to monthly / weekly / daily amounts and the estimation for booklets and poster materials, please contact me. Receipts in Kenyan shillings can also be provided to donors

What you get:
$25: Acknowledgement on the project website and social media pages.
$100: Acknowledgement on the project website and social media, and a private photograph of a newly identified Tsavo cheetah, during 2013.
$1000: Acknowledgement on the project website and social media, and two private photographs of newly identified Tsavo cheetahs, during 2013.
$2,000: Three day period with the project in the field (covers a daily / packed or locally bought lunch and transportation for two in the project vehicle during daily field activities for a 3 day period-dawn to dusk!).
$5,000: Seven day period with the project in the field (covers a daily / packed or locally bought lunch and transportation for two in the project vehicle during daily field activities for a 7 day period-dawn to dusk!).
If anyone?s interest in exceeding this seven day time period for an additional donation, this is also possible!
The Impact
The best way that you can help save the cheetah, is to donate to specific on-ground conservation projects, like ours, who have secured the permits and partnerships to do the field work but only require additional funding.

Grant awards do not last forever and rarely do they cover all field costs, such as petrol and research assistant salary. There are often time periods in between applications and awards when researchers and conservationists in the field rely solely on in-kind donations and fundraising. Critical project activities can only continue on a consecutive basis, if funding is continuously flowing in?
Our community assistance and educational programs to reduce cheetah conflict and persecution , cheetah ID and monitoring inside and outside the Tsavos, should not be halted due to lack of petrol, camp, or vehicle rental costs… Threats to these cheetahs do not decrease as project funds do, unfortunately.
Please consider assisting in our research and conservation efforts
to save this critical Trans boundary population in East Africa.

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