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:
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.
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.
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 Finds a Shady Spot