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(CNN)They maybe man's best friend, but dogs in Namibia have been making a new acquaintance: the cheetah.

Anatolian Shepherds and Kangals, large dog breeds that can weigh up to 150 lbs, are being employed by Namibian farmers as a deterrence, preventing the big cats from causing big problems.

Historically one of the largest threats to the cheetah population has come from ranchers who trapped and killed the animals to protect their livestock.

Cheetahs require a vast amounts of land to roam, and they often stray outside the boundaries of protected areas into nearby farmland. For generations, Namibian farmers felt they had no other option.

"We had to," farmer Andries Pretorius says, "there was no other way. We shot them on a fairly big scale... It was the only way, because you have to make a living... we lost a lot of cattle and sheep."

It was a solution that contributed to the decline of cheetah populations. Estimated to number more than 100,000 in 1900, once cheetahs could be found across Africa, the Middle East, all the way to India. Now there are thought to be as few as 10,000 of the big cats left globally.

It was a solution that contributed to the decline of cheetah populations. Estimated to number more than 100,000 in 1900, once cheetahs could be found across Africa, the Middle East, all the way to India. Now there are thought to be as few as 10,000 of the big cats left globally.

It was a solution that contributed to the decline of cheetah populations. Estimated to number more than 100,000 in 1900, once cheetahs could be found across Africa, the Middle East, all the way to India. Now there are thought to be as few as 10,000 of the big cats left globally.

It was a solution that contributed to the decline of cheetah populations. Estimated to number more than 100,000 in 1900, once cheetahs could be found across Africa, the Middle East, all the way to India. Now there are thought to be as few as 10,000 of the big cats left globally. 

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