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Puppies Taking it Easy
Puppies Taking it Easy
On November 15th, our intrepid little explorers made their biggest move yet of their young lives. A day trip out into the large, enclosed grazing area next to the kraal! They weren’t too sure at first and didn’t even want to follow mom, Aleya. After much encouragement (and by that I mean having to carry them!), they were safely ensconced in their new environment. But they weren’t happy about being somewhere strange and, at first, tried to find a way out through the fence!
We left them for a while to settle in and to make friends with the dairy goats, and then all went quiet. Who needs a huge field when there’s a lovely spot of shade next to the water trough and under a lovely tree? These little guys aren’t stupid, that’s for sure.

They will spend every day for the next couple of weeks out here, getting used to a bigger area and being able to stretch those short, stumpy legs! Good training for when they go off to their new homes. We’ll keep you updated on their progress! 





Puppies Sleeping
Puppies Sleeping
Puppy Chewing
Puppy Chewing

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Aleya and new puppy
Aleya and new puppy

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Aleya gave birth to six healthy puppies on 30 September 2012, right on her due date! All went well and both mother and puppies are doing just fine. These little ones will receive intensive care and training over the next

eight weeks until they are ready to be placed with local Namibian farmers and begin their lives as livestock guarding dogs. We are thrilled to have these new additions to our incredibly successful Livestock Guarding Dog Programme.

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Our Friend Shades
Our Friend Shades

Our Livestock Guarding Dog Programme is so successful in part because of our thorough concern and assistance for the dogs throughout their lifespan, and in recent months, we’ve seen that demonstrated clearly.

Our first litter of Kangals has been placed. Placement with a farmer happens when a puppy is eight weeks old. The young dog stays with younger livestock for the first few weeks. A three months, the dog will go out with the herder and the livestock to begin habituating it to the behaviour of the livestock and wild animals. Farmers must participate in training programmes on how to work with the dogs and make them effective livestock guarding dogs. A well-trained, well-cared-for Anatolian shepherd or Kangal is an imposing barrier against the predation of its herd.

Over the past few months, our LSGD team, Gebhardt Nikanor and Anja Bradley, has been visiting CCF dogs in the Otavi, Tsumeb, and Kamanjab districts near CCF. During these regular visits we talk to the farmers and herders about the dog, and have them answer questionnaires about the dogs’ performance and health. We also apply routine vaccinations and provide medical supplies to help ensure that the dogs’ health is a priority.

Occasionally, we find dogs that for various reasons, are in poor health or exhibiting poor performance. These dogs are removed from that specific farm, evaluated, and placed on another farm if appropriate. When a dog is unable to continue working, a home is found for the dog as a companion animal. When our own CCF dogs are retired, they live out the rest of their lives here at CCF as a valued member of our community.

We are sad because this month we lost Shades, an Anatolian shepherd who had been protecting

CCF’s own kraal of goats for over 12 years.  Shades had been retired, but still lived in the kraal–such was his bond with his former charges. His health deteriorated rapidly and as he was in great distress, Shades was euthanised. We all miss him terribly.

 But, as they say, the circle of life continues, and on Friday, 10 August, one of CCF’s Kangal dogs, Feliz, gave birth to six puppies, three male and three female. Sadly one of the males was stillborn, but the remaining five will become part of our growing and successful LSGD programme!

CCF
CCF's Kangal Feliz and her puppies with CCF staff

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Boer Goat
Boer Goat
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The newest life at CCF does not purr and lick, nor does it bark or scratch.  These week-old creatures have disproportionately large ears, gangly and unsteady limbs, vast orb-like eyes, and tiny, pink cloven hooves.  When they aren’t sleeping or drinking milk from their protective mothers, they are gamboling and capering around their pen, attempting to butt heads or jump onto higher surfaces, and – spoiler alert – making the most heart-melting bahh-ing sounds.  CCF is happy to announce the birth of six indigenous Boer goat kids!
The six kids (5 females and 1 male) were born to three healthy Boer does.  There were no complications during any of the births and all mothers instinctively began to clean, feed, and examine their kids.  The kids all have white bodies and either milk or dark chocolate colored heads.  They are all spry and inquisitive, exploring and frolicking until they collapse into a pile and sleep.     
Though birth in the kraal is met with less fanfare than most cheetah news, it is in fact an illustration of what makes the Cheetah Conservation Fund an internationally recognized centre of excellence: CCF is committed to developing the best practices in education, land use and conservation to benefit all species, including humans.  CCF is dedicated to teaching and working with farmers harmoniously, as well as leading by example.  The livestock farm at CCF’s headquarters Namibia is a model farm used to exhibit techniques and practices by which livestock and wildlife can be properly managed, eliminating the need for farmers and ranchers to kill wild cheetah.  The kraal at CCF is currently home to Boer goats, Damara sheep, mixed-breeds of dairy goat, and the Anatolian shepherds and Kangal dogs who guard the flock both inside the kraal and out in the field. 

Boer goats were developed in South Africa in the early 1900’s for meat production and were therefore the logical choice of breed for this model Namibian farm.  CCF’s model farm exemplifies the predator-friendly livestock management techniques of establishing calving seasons, using calving kraals, having herders, and using dogs as livestock guardians, to name a few.  The success of the model farm demonstrates that wild cheetah can continue to live on Namibian farmland without hindering the farmers’ way of life or harming their livelihood.  CCF is encouraged that there is now far greater awareness of the cheetah's role in the ecosystem, and an increasing number of farmers adopt predator-friendly livestock management practices and fewer cheetahs are being killed.  While these new lives have started without ceremony or drama, as is the natural way, their healthy birth and their symbolic role in the Cheetah Conservation Fund is concomitantly a celebration of the prosperous future of the wild cheetah.

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Kangal puppy playing
Kangal puppy playing
You might remember that Kiri is a Kangal that gave birth to eight puppies on 31 January. She was bred to CCF’s Kangal Firat, who was kindly donated to us by French breeder Bonnie Blue Flag.
I met Kiri’s eight puppies during my visit to CCF a couple of weeks ago. I feel lucky to have met them because they were just about to be placed within a few days of my departure! They are beautiful, very healthy, and definitely a handful!!!
In late March, the puppies underwent their routine sterilization surgeries.  Only some of the puppies in the litter were sterilized since a few will go on to be future breeding animals for CCF’s livestock guarding dog program.  Our vet Gaby explained the procedure to me. “The puppies first received a full physical exam to ensure they are healthy enough for surgery.  Then they were anaesthetized, given oxygen and anaesthetic gas via an endotracheal tube, and attached to anaesthesia monitoring equipment like a temperature probe, an ECG, a pulse oximeter, and a blood pressure monitor, just like in a human hospital!  The puppies also have an IV catheter placed and receive IV fluids to keep them well hydrated during the surgery.  A microchip transponder is inserted under their skin for future identification, and blood samples are taken for genetic analysis and general health evaluation.”  All the procedures went well, and the puppies were back in the kraal with their mom in no time.
As Kiri does not belong to CCF, half of her litter went to her owners, who took two of the puppies to their farm and placed two with friends as working dogs.  Of the four CCF puppies from the litter, two were placed as working dogs, while a male and a female will be breeding dogs because their genetics are quite valuable. 
We wish all these puppies a happy and healthy life saving cheetahs!
Kangal puppy placed
Kangal puppy placed

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Organization

Project Leader

Shannon Sharp

Operations Director
Alexandria, VA United States

Where is this project located?

Map of Help Dogs Save Cats