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
Sep 4, 2015

An Update on Khayjay

Khay Jay Running
Khay Jay Running

Khayjay is a 5-year-old male living here at CCF with his three siblings Peter, Senay, and Tiger Lily. These four cheetahs arrived to CCF at 3 weeks of age and had to be bottle-fed and hand reared, and therefore were raised as our next ambassador cheetahs following in the paw prints of our previous Ambassador, Chewbaaka.

Towards the end of 2013, Khayjay developed a dermatitis lesion on one of his forelegs due to the feline herpes virus. Khayjay had to be treated 2-3 times daily for almost 1.5 years for this lesion to heal fully. Throughout this time, Khayjay remained incredibly tolerant of this treatment from his keepers and veterinarian. Also in the beginning of 2015, due to the same virus Khayjay developed an ulcer on his cornea that required a special surgery to treat. Impressively, Khayjay continued to tolerate treatment and the ulcer healed quickly.

Today, we are happy to report that Khayjay has been free of any medical issues for over 6-months! He remains affectionate towards his keepers despite all the pestering he’s received from them over the past couple of years for treatments, and despite his past of medical problems Khayjay remains one of the best runners at CCF!

It was with your support that we have been able to accomplish all that we have with our cheetahs. If you would like to continue to support our work, pleaes consider doing so on Wednesday, 16 September, as all of your donations will be matched by 30%!

Here is a look at Khayjay over the past few years, we hope you enjoy them and that they sound familiar, as we have previous shared updates that include Khayjay, like B2 and Eye check-ups:

June 2014:

Unfortunately in February, Khayjay sustained a small wound on his back left ankle that was situated on the joint. To treat this wound initially, Khayjay was sedated by CCF’s veterinary team and received stitches. Once he began his recovery his leg proved quite difficult to bandage, as the bandage would bunch up every time he sat or lay down. This slowed the healing process quite a bit and Khayjay became very used to the treatment protocol, which involved meat treat rewards for holding still. He knew the routine and would meet his handlers at the gate every morning, stroll right in, and sit down ready for his treats. As this was a once, sometimes twice daily routine, Khayjay gained some weight due to the extra meat treats he was receiving for the treatments and is now currently on a diet to get back down to the ‘cheetah thin’ weight that allows him to run so fast. However, this has not dampened his spirit when it comes to cheetah runs. He remains one of the most enthusiastic runners, sprinting impressively after the lure, and frequently catching it. However, once the runs are over and it’s time to go back to his enclosure, he makes it clear that he would prefer to lie in the shade wherever he chooses, usually under the first tree he comes across.

December 2014:

For the last year, Khayjay has been battling a dermal legion related to a herpes virus on his front left leg. In the last several months his improvement has been paramount, and as of now he is completely healed! He is still quite used to his routine of receiving meat treats while his handlers treat his leg and will still occasionally lift his paw up when he sits, ready for his treatment. Fortunately, his handlers are in the monitoring phase of his healing process and are keeping an eye on his leg to ensure that it stays nicely healed. Khayjay has also had a problem with his left eye for a couple months. It has been runny and his recent treatment is showing promising results. We are keeping a close eye on this with consultation of an eye specialist in Windhoek.   

Khayjay and his siblings have a new neighbour at the Centre! In August, a new cub arrived at the Centre that had been orphaned from his mother in the wild. This cub, at about five months old on arrival, was named B2 after a a neighbouring gold mine. and caused quite a stir with the other cheetahs! He was initially housed in the nursery pen, which is adjacent to the pen where Khayjay and his siblings reside. Although all four cheetahs reacted differently to B2, Khayjay was by far the most timid, and would remain safely in the back of the group watching his siblings interact with the cub. As the cub has grown, Khayjay has become more confident and will even walk along the fence line parallel to B2. A visiting working guest was kind enough to bring along extra tough soccer balls as a gift for the cheetahs. The ambassadors were the first to play with these balls, and ran after them excitedly. Khayjay in particular liked to tackle the toy and hold it with his front paws while kicking it with his back paws. This is great enrichment for the cheetahs, as well as a source of exercise! All four of the ambassador cheetahs are amazing runners during the cheetah runs and often put the other cheetahs to shame with their frequent and enthusiastic sprints. Although Khayjay is the largest of his four siblings, he remains one of the most dedicated and powerful runners in the group.

July 2015:

Khayjay’s mantle burst dark from the back of his neck, a spray of hair falling to the sides as well like that of a young lion. As a cheetah, his looks are quite boyish, face square and blocky with wide-set large umber eyes. He sleeps most of the afternoons and enjoys the morning cheetah run when it’s the Ambassador’s turn. His muscles come uncoiled as the lure goes by and his spine curls as he moves in for the “kill.” He settles on top of that rag with a youthful pride, and it seems as though he has conquered the world, from the tightness of his shoulders and the gleam in his eyes.


Khayjay has had an incredibly positive six months. The herpes that has bothered him for the last little while has finally become asymptomatic which means that Khayjay does not have to worry about his keepers having to prod him on occasion to make certain he is given the right medicine for remaining in good health. To further that, Khayjay received eyes surgery to remove several polyps from the inside of his eyelid. With them gone, he is living a much more comfortable, symptom-free life.

Khay Jay
Khay Jay
Khay Jay Finds a Shady Spot
Khay Jay Finds a Shady Spot
Khay Jay!
Khay Jay!
Jun 5, 2015

pUpdate! A Year in Review

Spot with his herd
Spot with his herd

Our 2014 Year review is finshed, and it was a very succesful year! CCF’s Livestock Guarding Dog Programme (LSGD) continues to be one of the most successful conservation projects to assist farmers with predator conflict in Namibia. As of December 2014 there were 180 dogs (89M, 91F) alive in the programme, of which 150 (78M, 72F) are working dogs and 30 (11M, 19F) are retired or housed as pets.

CCF has also collaborated with the Ruaha Carnivore Project (RCP) in Tanzania, which is working to mitigate human-carnivore conflict in the Ruaha area. A large part of this conflict is driven by attacks on livestock, so in 2013 CCF provided four (2M, 2F) puppies for placement at RCP in Tanzania to protect livestock of Maasai and Barabaig farmers. The programme has been quite successful and due to this success, CCF provided six (3M, 3F) more puppies to RCP in December 2014. One female was left intact to help RCP create a breeding programme in the future.

CCF has also donated numerous puppies over the years to Cheetah Outreach, another facility who works to save the wild cheetah in South Africa, to help form their own livestock guarding dog programme. Since the trial programme was so successful in 2005, they also began breeding and providing Anatolian shepherds to farmers after the CCF model. The programme is key in helping farmers protect their livestock and thus save more cheetahs.

Currently, there are 26 (7M, 19F) intact dogs in the programme, of which 12 (3M, 9F) reside at CCF as working dogs (3M, 7F) or pets (2F), eight (3M, 5F) work on commercial farms, three (3F) are pets, two (1M, 1F) are in South Africa, and one female is in Tanzania. Feliz, one of our intact females, passed away in February due to snakebite. Nesbit, one of our intact males, has been moved from the pet category to the working category since he now lives with livestock. Penda, an intact female housed as a pet at CCF, has been retired from breeding.

The LSGD programme is a crucial part in CCF’s mission to conserve the wild cheetah and its continuing success is due to the efforts of dedicated CCF staff. Gebhardt Nikanor has worked on the programme since he joined CCF over 10 years ago. Paige Seitz arrived in December 2013 to manage the programme and CCF’s Small Stock Supervisor, Tyapa Toivo, began assisting with dog trips in January 2014.

We have some even more exciting news! On 28 May, one of our Livestock Guarding Dogs, Kiri gave birth to her third litter. She had nine puppies at around midnight. Kiri is doing just fine after some well-deserved rest and recovery. The father of these cute and invaluable little babies is Firat. Apologies for the blurry photo - it was a very long night! There will be a few more long nights to come as the next generation of LSGD's come into the world. As always we will keep you posted on their progress! 

Spot with his herd
Spot with his herd
A visit to CCF
A visit to CCF
Kiri and her Puppies
Kiri and her Puppies

Links:

Jun 5, 2015

Tracking Zinzi

Zinzi at CCF
Zinzi at CCF

There really is nothing quite like tracking a wild cheetah. A week or so ago, myself, another one of our cheetah staff and a couple of volunteers, went out in the afternoon to locate one of our collared cheetahs, Zinzi. We were additionally excited because we knew Zinzi had become a first time mother only a month or so before. We had been keeping track of her den sites and when she moved her cubs to new dens, however we had not really seen her often. We only knew what we could see from our daily satellite downloads from her satellite collar which gives us five fixes per day. Although Zinzi had been spotted during this time, the alleged cubs had never been seen, as they do stay in their den sites, not following their mother, for the first month to 6 weeks. It wasn’t being said out loud, however it was obvious that everyone was thinking ‘this could be the day we see the cubs’.
 
It started out as it always does, driving dirt roads along fence-lines, standing in the pickup of the white Toyota, holding an antenna in the air and a receiver to my ear. And then we heard it… ‘Blip…. blip…. blip’. “She’s close, stop the car!”. Judging by the telemetry equipment, we guessed she was about 300 meters straight into the bush. We gathered up the essentials and then we were off.

If you have ever attempted to pick through acacia branches while wielding bowls, sticks, telemetry equipment, while scanning the area for a potentially protective mother cheetah and also attempting to avoid falling into warthog holes then you know it is a challenge, to say the least. But as the ‘blip…blip’ from the receiver got stronger and stronger, everything we were carrying seemed to get lighter and lighter. We stopped in a small clearing with an overwhelming feeling that she was watching us. We then heard the ‘snap’ of a twig breaking and there she was, walking slowly towards us, head and tail low, taking long deliberate strides. With a low growl she charged at us before she stopped and stood silently, staring at us. Then she calmly turned around and walked slowly back in the direction that she had come from.
 
That’s when the calling started. Zinzi was emitting a low chortling, followed quickly by a sharp yelp, over and over again; her focus aimed at the tall grassy area barely visible through the low hanging acacia branches. We were so absorbed by Zinzi’s calling, that it took a second to register what we were also hearing, swirled in the songs of the birds in the bush. ‘Chirp… chirp!’. A tiny, high-pitched chirp, only slightly distinguishable from the bird calls, but there was no doubt about it; the chirps were being made to answer Zinzis’ call. It was her cubs.
Zinzi casually walked back to the place she had approached us from and flopped down as if we were not even present. The calling continued as we stared, fixed on that area, and then we saw it. At first, just the grass waving in a way that it shouldn’t and then a tiny, silvery streak of fur bounding through the grass; the mantle of a one and a half month old cheetah cub. As quickly as it had appeared, it vanished behind Zinzi. It didn’t feel real, but it was. The cubs did exist!
 
We continued to hear chirps from several directions, and mixed with this sound was also the sounds of a cheetah eating. When we were slowly able to switch vantage points, it was obvious that Zinzi had made a fresh kill and was calling the cubs to her. Seeing this was our cue to retreat. We left with a feeling of satisfaction that she was doing her job. Being able to observe Zinzi being a successful mother in the wild, as well as her feeling comfortable enough to share that moment with us was unforgettable.

Check out this photos below of Zinzi taken by CCF's post-release monitoring team! In the phto of Zinzi looking like she might attack, this sort of intimidation behaviour is frequently observed in our released cheetahs when they are being supplementally fed by the monitoring team. Though these cheetahs were rescued and rehabilitated here at CCF, they are still afraid of humans and are only willing to approach when food is offered, which is necessary to their success in the wild. Zinzi continues to do very well and has been out in the wild on her own for almost 1 year now!

Zinzi and Deborah upon release
Zinzi and Deborah upon release
Zinzi - Post-release monitoring
Zinzi - Post-release monitoring

Links:

 
   

donate now:

An anonymous donor will match all new monthly recurring donations, but only if 75% of donors upgrade to a recurring donation today.
Terms and conditions apply.
Make a monthly recurring donation on your credit card. You can cancel at any time.
Make a donation in honor or memory of:
What kind of card would you like to send?
How much would you like to donate?
  • $20
    give
  • $50
    give
  • $100
    give
  • $200
    give
  • $5,000
    give
  • $20
    each month
    give
  • $50
    each month
    give
  • $100
    each month
    give
  • $200
    each month
    give
  • $5,000
    each month
    give
  • $
    give
gift Make this donation a gift, in honor of, or in memory of someone?

Reviews of Cheetah Conservation Fund

Great Nonprofits
Read and write reviews about Cheetah Conservation Fund on GreatNonProfits.org.
WARNING: Javascript is currently disabled or is not available in your browser. GlobalGiving makes extensive use of Javascript and will not function properly with Javascript disabled. Please enable Javascript and refresh this page.