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Tuesday, 14 March 2006

Cheetah Update: Toblerone

From your last update on Toblerone, we’d like to tell you a bit more about her and what she has been doing over the past six-month period.

As you know Toblerone, her sisters Hershey and Nestle and their brothers, Cadbury and Lindt were born around July 2002 and arrived at CCF in February 2003. Toblerone, Hershey and Nestle, known as the “Chocolate Girls” live in the 200 acre Bellebeno enclosure with eight other females.

The "Chocolate Girls" are all very frisky. When CCF staff are in the 200 acre enclosure at feeding times, Toblerone, Hershey and Nestle will come out of the bush jumping and playing. The "Chocolate Girls" are all grown up now, having lost their fluffy baby faces they now look like beautiful adult cheetahs. The girls are always together and other cheetahs sometimes share their company. Toblerone and her friends are always very curious and up for a run. Toblerone is the least shy of her sisters and always is one of the first to get her food.

When it is feeding time, the girls often wait at the gate and stalk the truck as if it is their prey. Once in, the CCF staff drive the truck down the road of the 200 acre enclosure, with the cats running behind. This gives them daily exercise before getting their food. The “Chocolate Girls” follows the car very closely, keeping nicely up to speed as they like to be one of the first to get their food that is then thrown out of the back of the truck to each individual cheetah.

Beginning in January, all the CCF resident cheetahs undergo their annual health examination, performed by our Veterinarian, Dr. Arthur Bagot-Smith. These health checks are part of the Namibian permit requirements and also give us the opportunity to check on the health of our cheetahs. During the exam, each cheetah undergoes a clinical examination, from head to tail to ensure all joints are working and internal organs, such as the kidneys feel normal. They are also checked for external parasites, treated if necessary and vaccinated for feline distemper and rabies. Blood is also collected and these samples are screened for viruses and overall health to make sure that all organs, such as the liver, are functioning well.

Toblerone tipped the scales at 37 kilograms, this is just above average for a Namibian female cheetah (average is 36 kilograms). During her physical, she also had all the burrs combed out and CCF volunteer and dentist, Dr. Larry Friedman, who assisted with the medical checkups confirmed that even her teeth were looking great with minimal wear. He did, however equilibrated her posterior maudibulam molar pistal cusps.

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