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

A Strong Little Puppy

The Little Puppy
The Little Puppy

August 8th, 6 am –

A lone puppy was born. One of a litter of four, his three litter mates did not survive.

After being up all night with Isha I knew that there was something wrong and at about 5:30 am Dr. Bruce Brewer our general manager, our vet Dr. Andrew Di Salvo, Grace Warner our vet nurse and Teresia Robitschko my Personal Assistant were all on standby. We left for Otjiwarongo shortly thereafter and after a 45 minute drive, the vet at the clinic in town was ready and waiting. She performed a C-section immediately – the first C-section in the history of CCF’s Livestock Guarding Dog Program. This puppy was stuck in the birth canal but he made it through the travel to town without any issues. – Dr. Laurie Marker Founder/Executive Director Cheetah Conservation Fund

Two of the puppies were stillborn in spite of the emergency C-section. Two survived but one was so weak that he passed away after several days of medical care, leaving this one surviving special puppy. The good news is that he and his mother are doing great!

puppyandmom

When he grows up this little survivor will most likely be a Livestock Guarding Dog Ambassador. He will have the chance to go out with our community outreach team, teaching communities how to take care of their livestock and informing them about our Livestock Guarding Dog Program that mitigates human-wildlife conflict. The puppy may even travel to these communities with our vet Dr. Andrew who helped save his life.

puppyintext

We wanted to give our supporters the opportunity to help us name this special pup whose parents are Isha and Firat. We had an option of 9 names, submitted by Laurie and our Staff in Namibia.

The contest is finished! The winning name will be announced in the Fall 2015 issue of Cheetah Strides. You can still help. If you would like to donate to our Livestock Guarding Dog Program please support this cause!

Karabash – Meaning: Black Head. It symbolizes being big in body and big in power. A very respectable name and very common for big powerful dogs in Turkey.

Pasha – Meaning: High-ranking soldier. It symbolizes to power and dignity and is a very fashionable name in Namibia.

Birki – Meaning: To help or to rescue. Deriving from the Proto-Norse it is a very regal name.

Olan – Meaning: Ancestor. The origin of this name is Old Norse. Olan is also a mountain in the Massif des Écrins in the French Alps.

Hercules – Meaning: Glory of Hera or Glorious Gift. Derived from the Greek name Heracles. In Greek mythology, Hercules (or Heracles) was the son of Zeus.

Cuneyt – Meaning: small army (perhaps a small army of Kangals to help save cheetahs?) It is pronounced with a J or G sound vs a C sound.

Bir – Meaning: brother, courageous or hero. Originating in India it is a common Hindu and Sikh name.

Yüklü – Meaning: fraught or laden. This name is originates in Turkey.

Dave – Meaning: darling or beloved. It is a shortened version of David a derivation of an ancient Mesopotamian name. The shortened version Dave originates in Scotland, Wales and England and was very popular name for kings across Europe.

 

IN OTHER NEWS!

In July, CCF had the pleasure of having Linda van Bommel, a researcher from Australia, visit our model farm and livestock guarding dogs. Linda has just finished a 4 year research project on the use and effectiveness of livestock guarding dogs in Australia. She also wrote the “Best Practice Manual for the use of Livestock Guardian Dogs” which is now readily available to help farms in Australia learn how to manage their guarding dogs. This book discusses breeds, training, care, management, and case studies of livestock guarding dogs to help the farmers be better prepared. It is free a downloadable PDF available at the above link.

While Linda was at CCF we compared the management of farms in Australia and Namibia as well as their care and training for their dogs. Although, farms are managed quite differently in the two countries, guarding dogs are very effective in reducing livestock losses due to predators in both areas. We thank Linda for sharing her knowledge with us and hearing about our program successes and we hope to meet up with her again soon.

Kiri and Pups
Kiri and Pups
Linda van Bommels Visit
Linda van Bommels Visit
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

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