Student Education Campaign
Cheetah (Acinonyx jubatus) numbers have decreased by 2.1% annually across their historical range since 1990 (Durant et al, 2015). Cheetahs face an imminent threat of extinction due to habitat loss, declining prey base, and increased instances of human-wildlife conflict. Conservation education and outreach programs are critical for cheetah conservation. To address these problems at the source, the aim of the project is to;
- Raise awareness on the cheetah’s status, contribution to the ecosystem and people’s individual and collective roles in conservation; and
- Influence human behavior to safeguard cheetah habitat and secure its habitat ranges.
To accomplish this we have developed three programs to reach all audiences. Two adult programs will reach the (1) common public and (2) decision makers through community seminars, natural resource planning and wildlife videos. These two programmes are aimed at building adult empathy and community tolerance for predators, including the cheetah, while promoting the value of the predator in human livelihoods.
The third program is focused on children with Standard four through eight being the target audience in 2017. We have developed a student workbook and teacher guide that is curriculum based for use in wildlife clubs as a fun teaching aid. Activities include math, geography, word games, art, active games and writing projects to teach children about predators in a healthy ecosystem that includes wildlife-human interactions. The workbooks will be piloted in nine schools before completing the final version. Once completed we are seeking the funding to publish 10,000 student booklets and 1,000 teacher guidebooks for distribution across the cheetah’s range during our upcoming national cheetah survey. Publication costs are $5 for the student books and $8 for the teacher guides.
The books will be a portion of ongoing school outreach programmes in our two base field sites where our education team will be working with a few target schools to pilot other conservation education projects that can be promoted across the cheetah’s range.