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Undiscovered Namibia 42 Travel Namibia Clive and Roma started building the PAWS project in May 2008, and their fi rst guests arrived in August. At the moment their capacity is ten, but they hope to increase that to 28 in the coming months. " We work hard here, but the rewards are great," says Roma. Clive, whose previous jobs have included being a holistic therapist, a wine adviser and a security guard, is a qualifi ed wildlife guide. Clive's safaris into Okonjima Game Reserve are justifi ably popular. As he drives his commentary is fascinating. " There's a dik dik. Did you know that they don't drink? They get all the moisture they need from eating leaves. See that eland? He can jump two- and- a- half metres from standing. That cheetah is touching the ground about every seven metres when it is running". The speed that cheetahs run is one of the reasons that the bush at Okonjima needs to be cleared of shrub. A cheetah's defensive refl exes cannot keep up when it sprints and so it can't blink in time to protect its eyes from the sickle bush's sharp thorns. Increasingly, rescued cheetahs are being found with damaged eyes. There's a concern across Namibia that if sickle bush encroachment cannot be stopped then more and more cheetahs will have damaged sight. Cheetahs, relying only on their hearing to hunt, will then prey on cattle which, unlike game, make plenty of noise. This will only increase the current confl ict between the country's farmers and its big cats. Perhaps the biggest incentive for PAWS guests is that they will be involved in an AfriCat rescue. In the fi rst four months of operating, PAWS project members have helped save 17 cheetahs from farms where they would otherwise have been shot. Sixteen of those cats have been successfully reintroduced to the wild, one at water hole where that leopard has just been spotted. The waterhole was dug by the guests themselves and they fi tted a spotlight in the hope of round- the-clock wildlife viewing. That was just two days ago. As they talk excitedly about the young female leopard, totally wild, that spent 20 minutes drinking from their freshly- dug hole, I hear the words time and again, " It's just so satisfying". ¦ For more information visit www. pawsnamibia. org, www. okonjima. com, www. africat. org ADAM PACEY

Travel Namibia 43 A DAY AT PAWS From stocks & shares to shrubs & snares " It's hard work here, but you are doing it for a great reason so it is justifi ed. As well as clearing shrub, I've picked up old farm fencing posts and wires - which together can act as snares to animals - built a waterhole and mended existing borehole pumps. Every day your reward is a fabulous game drive. Even better, if AfriCat gets a call about a cat that needs rescuing, you will be on the plane or the car that goes to fetch it. Rescues are incredible. Within four or fi ve hours of the phone call you are there and there's this cheetah looking pretty miserable in a cage. You dart the cheetah then take it out of its box and lay it on a blanket. A blood sample is taken together with its measurements and a tag is inserted in the tip of its tail. Its paws and teeth are checked before it's put in a fresh wooden box in the back of the car or plane. Twenty- four hours later you are opening up a wooden box and watching him shoot off into a safe environment - safe because you have cleared it. It is very, very satisfying". THIS IMAGE: A rescued cheetah is released into the safety of Okonjima's reserve BELOW: Adam Pacey carries a sedated cheetah to safety TOP RIGHT: Heida, a long- term resident of Okonjima. She has never learnt to hunt and needs feeding BELOW RIGHT: PAWS guests clearing shrubs, mending fences and relaxing around the camp fi re Rescues are incredible. Within four or fi ve hours of the phone call you are there and there's this cheetah looking pretty miserable in a cage. Twenty- four hours later you are opening a box and watching him shoot off into a safe environment - safe because you have cleared it. It is very, very satisfying Adam Pacey is spending four weeks at PAWS after quitting his job at the London Stock Exchange. ¦ 0600 Get up to light campfi re and brew early-morning tea ¦ 0630 Have breakfast and wash up ¦ 0700 Gather together equipment - machetes, axes, shears etc. - and lots of drinking water. Head out into bush for a morning's work. ¦ 1200 Back to camp for a sandwich. ¦ 1300 Wash up then it's time for a siesta. ¦ 1530 Head out on a game drive with Clive. You might track leopard or hyena, cheetah or giraffe. It's never dull. ¦ 1800 Back for dinner and a beer. If it's your turn, you cook. ¦ 2100 Early to bed in the bush. MARY ASKEW ADAM PACEY MARY ASKEW