Cheetah Conservation Fund

To be the internationally recognized centre of excellence in the conservation of cheetahs and their ecosystems. CCF will work with all stakeholders to develop best practices in research, education, and land use to benefit all species, including people. CCF works to: create and manage long-term conservation strategies for the cheetah; develop and implement livestock management practices that eliminate the need for ranchers to kill cheetah; conduct education programs for locals; continue research in genetics, biology, species survival
Jun 17, 2014

Who Takes Care of the Resident Cheetahs?

Feeding Goats
Feeding Goats

When you arrive at CCF you will be probably overwhelmed by all the information that you get. A million facts about cheetahs are explained to you in the museum of the visitor centre. Shortly after you will be taken to a safety and security briefing around CCF. While you are still thinking about the snakes, scorpions and spiders you should avoid you are already shown around on CCF’s land and where you will be sleeping for the next couple of weeks. There several work spaces in the office, nothing unusual. A poster on the wall shows a manager in a business suit saying “Volunteers are wonderful people.” I wondered why?

Lying in bed trying to process all the new information, the names of all the people and fighting the mosquitos this poster was still stuck in my head.

After your first night you try to fit into the routine at CCF. Almost every day you receive a different task. The tasks range from feeding cheetahs, releasing them into the wild, walking dogs, assisting with cheetah surgery, helping with goats, counting game to scanning documents for databases. The list goes on. Working days are long and exhausting. After all don’t expect a cheetah to forgive you if you decide to feed only on the next day just because it’s 5pm ;) On the other hand they will also reward you. One of them came to the fence on the day I was leaving, looked at me with her big orange-brown eyes and started to purr to tell me goodbye. I immediately knew that all the hard work paid off.

The animals already make your stay worth it. Where else can you encounter oryx, kudu, jackal on your morning run? But the people I met, made my stay unforgettable. The employees come from all around the world and they have so many stories to tell. Everyone enjoys what he is doing and this spirit is contagious. I felt welcome from the first minute. Usually tasks are assigned to more than one person so there is always someone to talk to if for once the work is not super exciting.

Obviously the after work activities couldn’t have been more fun. Getting a drink on the old water tower and enjoying the picturesque view on the Waterberg. The soccer games with the farmworkers. Playing card games until late at night or sitting at the fireplace and chatting. Everything had one thing in common. The people I met at CCF were wonderful. Maybe that manager on the poster was not so wrong after all. It should say though: “The people at CCF are wonderful!”

Cheetah 2
Cheetah 2

Links:

Jun 17, 2014

10 Puppies!

Puppies
Puppies

On Easter Day, CCF received a special delivery: 10 healthy puppies born to our Kangal Kiri! She delivered 5 males and 5 females. The lucky father to this litter is our Kangal, Firat. These little pups will grow up to become a crucial part in saving the wild cheetah. Each puppy will go to a farm where farmers are interested in and are pursuing predator friendly management of their livestock. Through this program farmers have seen 80-100% of their livestock losses eliminated. This is a big step in the right direction of having people live in harmony with predators.

The puppies will stay at CCF until they are 9 weeks old, when the farmers will come to pick them up and take them to their new jobs. The puppies are placed with young livestock at 4 weeks of age to begin the bonding process and they continue this bonding when they arrive at their new farms. CCF conducts visits to the farms at 3 months, 6 months, 1 year, and annually thereafter to check on the progress of the puppies as well as their health.

These puppies have large paw prints to fill but with their mother’s determination and father’s strength there is no doubt that these puppies will succeed in the fight to save the wild cheetah.

Thank you for your continued support of our Livestock Guarding Dog Programme!

Kiri and puppies
Kiri and puppies
Puppies 2
Puppies 2

Links:

Mar 20, 2014

Minja, Emma, and Jacominja Release

Minja
Minja

When the Leopard Pen Gate opened on Monday 23rd December, Minja, Jacominja and Emma were about to face life on their own, in the wild. Each of them had been fitted with a GPS tracking collar which regularly takes a new GPS location and transmits the new data back to us early each day. Each collar also has a VHF transmitter allowing us to track and find them on foot too. There was a huge amount of work that went on in the build up to this event and there is still much more to do. This is their story so far, and we will continue to keep you posted with their progress in the future.

Minja:

Minja left the pen at the first available opportunity using the nearby road to explore the area and unfortunately we didn’t receive an update from her collar until the 27 December 2013. On the 29 December we spent the entire day looking for her and still had no good sightings. From the data sent to us from the GPS collar, we learned that on 30 December she moved from CCF land onto a neighbouring farm briefly and then back onto CCF land. We finally got the first proper sighting of her on 4 January 2014 on CCF land. On 5 January we found her again and fed her a large meal because we hadn’t yet had any confirmation that she had made a kill, however she did not look thin! Overall Minja seems to be doing well and is definitely independent, but we will continue to monitor her closely to ensure her well-being.

Emma:

After the gates opened, Emma decided to stick around for a few days until she finally decided to leave the pen on 26 January 2013. From Leopard Pen she moved to an area relatively close by and we were able to find and feed her on 28 January. However, we spent the whole of New Year’s Eve looking for her and unfortunately were unsuccessful. According to the GPS data from her collar, she moved onto the neighbouring farm on 1 January 2014 and stayed until 2 January. On 3 January, Emma found us. We were about to drive through a gate, and she suddenly appeared behind the vehicle. It’s likely that she heard the feeding vehicle and had been following us for some time. We took the opportunity to move her back into Bellebeno, our re-wildling game camp to an artificial waterhole where we also fed her. She had to follow the car for about 2km so she earned her food for the day. The next day, we found her nearby where we left her as she had made her first confirmed kill! As soon as we approached, she picked up the kill and carried it off but we are quite sure it was a steenbok. On 6 January we found her yet again on another kill, which was also a steenbok. We are very happy with Emma’s success in this release, as she has already made two confirmed kills. We will continue to monitor her closely, but have high hopes for her future in the wild.

Jacominja:

Like Emma, Jacominja decided to hang around in the enclosure for a few days before venturing out. On 26 December 2013, however, she left and moved to one of CCF’s other farms. Incredibly, on 28 December 2013, we found her on her first (known) kill, which was an adult male duiker. For having been out of the enclosure less than 48 hours, it’s impressive that Jacominja had already made a kill. On 30 December we found Jacominja again and decided to go ahead and feed her in case she was struggling to make a kill. We are teaching all our interns how to radio-track and on 1 January, one of our Dutch interns, Marianne, tracked Jacominja and found her. We decided to feed her again, just in case. A couple of days later, we found her on other kill, which was a young warthog and then again on 4 January, we found she had killed a steenbok. On 6 January she moved but we found her and again fed her. Jacominja is clearly doing well on her own in the wild with three confirmed kills, but like the others, we will continue to monitor her closely just to ensure she is coping well with her new life in the wild.

Thank you for your support of our resident cheetahs.  Your support allows us to care for out cheetahs in residence and in some cases allows for their release back to the wild.

Gratefully,

CCF Staff.

P.S.  Dr. Marker will be on tour this spring.  Come see her in a city near you.  http://www.cheetah.org/?nd=event_and_tour_news

Emma on her steenbok kill on 6 January 2014
Emma on her steenbok kill on 6 January 2014
Jacominja on 1 January 2014
Jacominja on 1 January 2014

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