Greetings from Namibia! Quite a lot has happened since your last update:
In mid-February, Blondi, along with the rest of our resident cats, underwent her annual physical exam. As part of an ongoing study of gastritis (inflammation of the stomach lining) in captive cheetahs, several gastric biopsies were taken using an endoscope. This year for the first time, staff and volunteers were able to see inside of the esophagus and stomach via the endoscopic camera using a monitor. She was also given her annual vaccines against rabies and other feline diseases and Frontline was applied to help control flies and ticks. Blondi weighed in at 41 kilograms (90.2lbs), down 2 kilograms from when she was last weighed in July. Forty-one kilograms is a little heavy for a female cheetah, which is not too surprising. While her pen mates, Sandy, Dusty, and Leia usually love to run after the lure, Blondie on the other hand would rather watch them or lie down, being admired by visitors.
In additional to the annual physical exam and in conjunction with our ongoing research collaborations, Blondi was also chosen to be part of a study assessing renal disease in captive cheetahs. Renal disease is considered to be the leading cause of death in captive cheetahs. In a study of 29 zoos in the USA, renal disease was found in 82% of cats; in South Africa, the prevalence rate is 80%. There were three age groups: young, middle, and old; Blondie, at 7 years old, is considered middle-aged.
Blondie spends much of her time walking the fence line, occasionally flirting with Chewbaaka across the way.
Thank you again for sponsoring Blondi and we hope for your continued support in the future.