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Feed Orphan Cheetahs in Namibia

by Cheetah Conservation Fund
Feed Orphan Cheetahs in Namibia
Feed Orphan Cheetahs in Namibia
Feed Orphan Cheetahs in Namibia
Feed Orphan Cheetahs in Namibia
Feed Orphan Cheetahs in Namibia
Feed Orphan Cheetahs in Namibia
Feed Orphan Cheetahs in Namibia
Feed Orphan Cheetahs in Namibia
Feed Orphan Cheetahs in Namibia
Feed Orphan Cheetahs in Namibia
Feed Orphan Cheetahs in Namibia
B2 is Now One Year Old!
B2 is Now One Year Old!

Our youngest cheetah, B2 is now one year old and has been bonded succesfully with Phoenix. The two are doing great together and B2 is settling into his new home with his new coalition mate nicely! CCF was pleased to host some of the management of B2Gold and their guests during a visit to the CCF main campus yesterday. B2Gold operate the nearby Otjikoto gold mine, which came into production late last year and is an important addition to the Namibian economy. B2Gold has been a wonderful donor to CCF and our ecology staff assist in biodiversity research on the mine’s set-aside ecological reserve. The most recent addition to our resident cheetahs, B2, is named after B2Gold.

CCF has a new resident cheetah – Romeo. He was a farmer’s longtime family pet. Recently the farmer and his wife had to leave their home for assisted living and released Romeo into CCF’s care. Although he was very well cared for and is a very sweet cheetah, the practice of taking cheetah cubs as pets is generally not allowed. We are thankful that he was so well cared for and that the farmer entrusted CCF with Romeo’s future care. He will be integrated into CCF’s other orphans and hopefully create some lifelong bonds with members of his own species. Romeo recently underwent a full health check, under anesthesia. We took some genetic samples to be stored and he recovered perfectly. We will keep you posted on his progress and socialization with the other cheetahs here at CCF.

Dr. Léart Petrick, a Windhoek eye specialist with a practise focused on serving humans, recently travelled to Cheetah Conservation Fund (CCF) to perform an operation on a different kind of patient. Khayjay, a four-and-a-half-year-old cheetah that has lived at CCF since he was three weeks of age, successfully underwent a 45-minute surgery to address a chronic, debilitating eye problem.

“Khayjay’s left eye was creating excessive amounts of discharge, causing him discomfort and interfering with his vision”, said CCF veterinarian Dr. Mari-Ann DaSilva. “When Khayjay was not responding to our initial treatment protocol, we decided to examine him thoroughly under anaesthesia”.

Dr. Da Silva consulted with Dr. Petrick, who agreed that surgery was the best option. The operation was performed at CCF on 6 January, with Dr. Petrick bringing his own special ophthalmology tools. Dr. Petrick has practised in Windhoek for approximately 10 years and occasionally makes his services available to assist veterinarians with domestic animals. Khayjay’s surgery marks the first time he has operated on a cheetah.

“Khayjay’s problem is the result of long-term inflammation, and the procedure I performed is fairly simple”, said Dr. Petrick. “Khayjay seemed to respond well to the surgery. We anticipate he will make a quick recovery and have full use of the eye”.

During the surgery, Khayjay’s third eyelid was sutured shut to act as a natural bandage. It will remain closed for a few weeks to allow the eye to heal. Eye ointment is being applied five times a day. “The sutures are absorbable and will dissolve on their own. At that time, his eye should be well into the healing process and function normally”, said Dr. Da Silva.

““We are so pleased to have a resource like Dr. Petrick in the community who is willing to step outside of his normal practise and donate his services to help us with one of our orphan cheetahs”, said Dr. Laurie Marker, Founder and Executive Director of CCF. “We don’t have many veterinarian specialists in the country, so having an interested human specialist is wonderful. Having healthy eyes and clear vision is just as important to cheetahs as it is for people.”

We are very pleased to share that our cheetahs are all healthy and well as we enter our dry season!

P.S. GlobalGiving's first matching opportunity of 2015 is Wednesday, March 18th! GlobalGiving is offering a 30% match on all donations up to $1,000 per donor per project, while funds remain. There is $60,000 available in matching and matching begins at 9:00:01 EDT and lasts until funds run out or 23:59:59 EDT. There is also $2,000 in bonus prizes available! 

Romeo Has Been Settling in Nicely at CCF
Romeo Has Been Settling in Nicely at CCF
Windhoek Ophthalmologist Helps Save Cheetahs Eyes
Windhoek Ophthalmologist Helps Save Cheetahs Eyes
KhayJay is Healing Well
KhayJay is Healing Well

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B2 at 5 months
B2 at 5 months

Named after a friend of CCF, B2 arrived at CCF in August when he was just 4 months old. As a young cub without his mother, B2 required lots of care and staff attention and resources to keep him fed, healthy and happy!

It has now been four months since we rescued this amazing cheetah and he is doing very well and has made a full recovery here at CCF. On 4 December, also International Cheetah Day, B2 ran with the lure for the first time! This was very exciting and he was curious and responded very well.

Currently, CCF keepers are working to bond B2 with another solo male, Pheonix (one of our hand raised orphans who is six years old). Hopefully, before too long, the two males can share the same enclosure. When we first began introducing B2 to our other cats, he would sit with his back against the enclosure's fence, and ignore the other cats as they vocalized and hissed. With time and paitence, we are very please to share that they are doing well now! We are very excited about how they are getting on. A slow process, though, spending a few hours a day together with us monitoring closely. B2 really seems to enjoy his new pal.

Rescue efforts like this take a lot of staff time and resources, and can be very costly. We are very pleased that members of the local community know that they can depend on CCF to help care for wounded and orphaned cheetahs. Rescues such B2's would not be possible without your support.

 

B2
B2's first time running with the lure
B2 (7 months) bonding with Phoenix
B2 (7 months) bonding with Phoenix
B2 is growing very quickly! He is now 8.5 months.
B2 is growing very quickly! He is now 8.5 months.

During out last update, four of our orphaned cheetahs were released back into the wild. Over the past few weeks CCF staff members have been in Erinidi monitoring the progress of the cheetahs who were recently released, and Jacomina is doing fabulously!

Jacomina successfully hunted an adult male steenbok. This is a great step forward in her rehabilitation and release, but CCF's monitoring team will continue to keep close watch over her until she is entirely sufficient on her own.

Jacomina and her cubs are doing well under the watchful eyes of CCF's monitoring team.

Sometime in August, Jacomina sprained her front right leg while hunting but she remains vigilant and her cubs are thriving.Though it's slowed down her hunting behaviors, the sprain is looking better everyday. CCF's monitoring team is still keeping a close eye on her to ensure she and her cubs are okay and is providing assistance whenever necessary. This photos below were taken while Jacomina and the cubs were scanning their surroundings from atop a termite mound!

Please stay tuned for future updates on Jacomina and her progress in Erindi and consider supporting CCF to ensure conservation efforts such as this one can continue!

 

 

 

Jacomina and her two cubs in Erindi
Jacomina and her two cubs in Erindi
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

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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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Organization Information

Cheetah Conservation Fund

Location: Alexandria, VA - USA
Website:
Facebook: Facebook Page
Twitter: @Cheetah Conservation
Project Leader:
Beth Fellenstein
Dr.
Otjiwarongo, Namibia
$55,081 raised of $65,000 goal
 
855 donations
$9,919 to go
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