Foto Phaves: Central Kalahari Predator Conservation
Wild African Dogs waiting to be fed at the Kalahari Predator Conservation Project facilities, near the Central Kalahari Game Reserve, Botswana. Here the local cattle farmers have taken on the responsibility of caring for predators who wander off the huge reserve into farmlands, while they wait for the government to relocate the animals.
Here at the facility, housed at Grasslands Lodge, guests are able to be in the pen next to the animals as they eat. Wild dogs do not see humans as food, and will not attack unless we act like food and run.
Now we truly understand the term "like a pack of wild dogs." Because everything in the wild will take their food from them, the African wild dog eats furiously fast.
Their colors are vibrant, yet in the low late afternoon light, my shots of many of these animals was a streak of blurred color. This one stood still for just a moment...
The Kalahari Predator Conservation facility also houses quite a number of lions awaiting relocation. The local farmers have permits to shoot these animals, but have chosen instead to try to rescue them as they have wandered off the reserve, at their own expense. The relocation process is taking much longer than anticipated, and the costs are high.
Botswana is a leader in conservation on the African continent. They have set aside nearly 40% of the country as national park and game reserve. The Central Kalahari Game Reserve near this facility is twice the size of Massachusetts, the second largest reserve in the world.
There is a very healthy population of lions in the Central Kalahari Game Reserve, and even with the vast amount of land set aside these animals wander off the reserve as they come under pressure from other prides. Because there are so many lions in the Kalahari, relocation is proving difficult.