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Monday, 7 May 2007

Hermione - April 2007

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

In mid-February, Hermione, 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. She has almost doubled her weight from last year, from 17.5 (38.5lbs) to 32 kilograms (70 lbs). She will keep growing and putting on a little bit more weight, but she is almost at her final adult weight.

In additional to the annual physical exam and in conjunction with our ongoing research collaborations, Hermione 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 older; Hermione, at 19 months old, was in the youngest age group.

As you know, Hermione lives with her brother, Ron, and sister, Harry. Siblings develop a strong relationship. In the wild, Ron would have been kicked out by this point, but because Ron can not be put with other males at CCF due to his younger age, the siblings will continue to live together with help from Ron’s contraceptive implant. Hermione stands out with her distinctive dark coloration and feisty personality. All three continue to enjoy exercising by running after the lure system. Hermione continues to be the most eager to run, often encouraging her siblings into joining in.

Surprisingly, at feeding time, it’s a different story. All three races to their feeding bowls, but most of the time Ron and Harry lead the charge and it’s Hermione that is the last to arrive. They almost always eat in the same positions; Ron and Harry flanking Hermione. Hermione is usually the first to finish and doesn’t get greedy and try to steal from her siblings. When she finishes eating, she retires to a shady tree and lies down to let her food digest.

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

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