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Monday, 7 May 2007

Harry - April 2007

Greetings from Namibia! Quite a lot has happened since your last update:

In mid-February, Harry, 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. Harry has almost doubled her weight from last year, from 19 to 34 kilograms (approx. 75 lbs.)! She is still smaller than her brother Ron but, but outweighs her sister, Hermione.

At 19 months old, Harry and her siblings are at an age when they would be independent of their mother. The three of them would normally stay together for another three months, until eventually, a single male or male coalition would force the male sibling (Ron) out so they could mate with the females. Harry and Hermione would then stay in the same general home area where they were born and would raise their cubs there.

However, while in captivity the sibling group need not worry about separating. As a precautionary measure Ron was given contraception in the form of a microchip this year during his annual exam. Along with his sisters, he continues to enjoy exercising by running after their lure system. While Hermione is the most eager, Harry remains the most tireless runner of the trio, as well as the fastest. She still jumps up before we can give her a meat treat and walks away from the rag she has worked so hard to snag.

At feeding time, all three race to their feeding bowls, with Ron and Harry usually leading the charge. Harry is the last to finish, but is usually able to keep Ron from stealing her food by growling at him when he comes too close. When she needs to, she will slap at him, a final warning, as if to say “I’m not going to tell you again. Let me eat!” When she finishes eating, she retires to a shady tree and lies down to let her food digest.

Thank you again for sponsoring Harry and we hope that we can count on your continued support in the future.

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