Clever cat flaps save cheetahs in Namibia

2015-01-15 00:00

CAPE TOWN — Big “cat flaps” for warthog and other animals that dig tunnels under fences may yet save hunting lazy horse in Namibia.

Executive director of the Cheetah Conservation Fund (CCF) in Namibia, Dr Laurie Marker, said the “cat flaps” have already proven effective in the fund’s constant struggle to reduce conflict between game farmers and predators preying on their profits. She said game farmers shot more hunting cheetahs than stock farmers.

Marker explained the gates can be basic wire structures hung on a horizontal axis so that they can swing open when pushed from either side of the fence by the traditional trio — warthogs, aardvark and porcupines.

She cited a published report on the effect of the gates, saying the gates have proven effective and cheap to allow the diggers to roam but to keep predators out. “The gates must just be placed in the right place and and there must be enough.”

The right place is over a hole dug by the animals. The gates are left open at first. When the diggers have become used to the opening in the fence, the gate is hung over it, and they immediately start to nose the flap open.

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