Greetings from Namibia! Quite a lot has happened since your last update:
In mid-February, Cleo, 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. Cleo weighed in at 37 kilograms, down 2 kilograms from when she was last weighed in July.
In addition to the annual physical exam and in conjunction with our ongoing research collaborations, Cleo 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; Cleo, at almost 3 years old, was in the young group.
She is still in the 64 hectare enclosure at Bellebeno and has become more independent. She shows up alone at mealtimes, without her coalition mates Luna, Samantha, and Tempesta. She is very food oriented and always makes a mad rush for the first piece of food thrown. She is usually successful, but on the rare occasion she isn’t, she will chase and even grab it right out of the mouth of whoever grabbed it first. This is a throwback to her antics when she was in a smaller enclosure with her three coalition mates. You can be sure Cleo would never miss a meal.
Thank you again for sponsoring Cleo and we hope that we can count on your continued support in the future.