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Monday, 31 July 2006

Laurie's parents visit CCF

Laurie's parents spent a few days visiting with us at CCF. Below is an e-mail that Laurie's mom sent to her friends. We decided to post it here to give everyone an idea of how many things are always happening at CCF!

Dear Famiy and Friends,

We are enjoying our time here at the Cheetah Conservation Fund.

There are people here from all over the world. Volunteers from U.K. Scotland, The Netherlands, Belgium, Ireland, Switzerland, U.S, Spain, Mexico. There is a group of Earthwatch volunteers here and one of them is from Cupertino, Ca.

There was a family from San Francisco here. They had 2 children and a friend of their son's, who lives in Switzerland. A very nice family. The children were so interested in what was going on. They won the Audi that CCF raffled off last year, and then donated it back to CCF. It was very interesting talking to them.

There is a delegation from the WWF (World Wildlife Fund) who do lobbying on environmental issues to Congress.

A film crew from the BBC (British Broadcasting Station) is also here. They are producing a film for their T.V.

A group of scientists from the Smithsonian's National Zoo. We were priviledged to watch a procedure on one of the cheetahs. They used ultrasound to examine the entire insides and then measured and proceeded to enter the ovaries with a small needle and extract the eggs. They are doing research on fetilization. This is the same group that did the work on the Pandas from Washington. I was so pleased to be able to watch the entire procedure. They are so exact and good at their profession.

One of the veterinarians is from Sebastapol, Ca., even though she works with the Washington, D.C. group. They gave a very interersting power point presentation of their work in China. The Smithsonian group keeps thier own vehicle here, so I guess different scientists come and go from the National Zoo.

Saturday, there was a busload of school children about 12 years old from St. Paul's Academy in Windhoek (the capital city here). They were camping and some of the parents and teachers were with them. They wore very nice royal blue uniforms, and were very well behaved.

Yesterday, Sunday, we had a picnic in the bush near a water hole. We sat out under a tree and watched the animals come to drink. There was a herd of zebra, warthogs, heartebeests, kudus, Oryx, ostrich, aardvark, porcupine. We did not see any giraffe, but they are here on the farms as the Earthwatch visitors said they saw a lot of them. Lots of pretty birds that I am learning the names of. Of course we see the cheetahs right out of the office window. There is a young one named Kunini (which means little one) that Laurie plays with each day. She is very cute. She had been mistreated, so it is nice to see her gaining confidence in Laurie.

It is winter here. However the sun is out every day and it warms up quite a bit by noon. If it is not too windy, we open the house and let some warm air in. We sleep under a wool blanket and a down comforter to give you an idea of how chilly it gets. We wear a jacket most of the time even in the house, as it is colder in that out duing the day.

This week it has been unseasonably warm and we are enjoying the milder weather. I hope it doesn't turn cold again, but it probably will, as I remember last August having some cold weather.

Thank you for your e-mails giving us news of happenings in your lives.

Marline and Ralph

Monday, 10 July 2006

Update from Laurie

Since my return from the US in May, I have been trying to catch up with everything. We continue to have busy to busier days here – with so much going on.

In early June we watched as Shiraz, who is the one that had the four cubs and was released in Bellebeno in January – made her first hunt. She hadn't been hunting!! She has moved into the Big Field, so it was very exciting! It's wonderful to go into the Field and see cheetahs living free.

Around the same time we picked up three captured cheetahs – but unfortunately they are too young to go out into the wild. Also, Kanini is doing very well - and since I got back she has re-bonded so strongly with me, and she is so smart! She still loves Chewbaaka – who is also doing well.

Sunday, 9 July 2006

Back from Ethiopia

I just got back from Ethiopia and I did see the remaining cub. Patch, the one eyed cub, passed away about 2 weeks before I had arrived – although there was a bit of a necropsy, there were no definitive findings as to why the cub had died. He had been doing well, I was told. The other cub, Scout, was there and I did meet him. Both cats were males, originally they thought that Scout was a female – but he is certainly a male!

I did take a photo of the cub – unfortunately, although he is not skinny, he is suffering from a nutritional deficiency and he has bad legs, so we are looking now at our options as to how to get x-rays, how we might go about surgery there in Addis – with no real animal clinic.

The cub is very sweet – he goes out every day with his keepers in the gardens, and he is very gentle and likes to be petted. We spent quite a bit of time with him and I was able to teach the caretakers more about how to best handle the cheetah and care for it. The cage is small, however it was clean – so I was pleased with that.

We went to where we plan to help build a new pen for the cub – this will be a fairly large area, with grass, and fallen trees for Scout to climb and play on. The US Ambassador has adopted Scout and will be going to the Palace weekly to see how the cub is doing. She and other members of the US Embassy will be helping to build Scout a new cage.

But, we also have 40 orphan cheetahs in Namibia that we need to care for long-term so please visit our web page at to help us care for these cheetahs that are not luckily enough to live in the wild.

Until next time,

Laurie Marker