Greetings from Namibia! Quite a lot has happened since your last update:
In mid-February, Misty, 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. Misty weighed in at 44 kilograms (96.8 pounds), up one kilogram from last year.
In addition to the annual physical exam and in conjunction with our ongoing research collaborations, Misty 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; Misty, at 9 years old, was in the old group.
Misty has slowly started joining Nina and Solo in their coalition. During one Bellebeno Safari, Misty and Nina sat under a tree in the middle of the enclosure and groomed each other for 15 minutes, both purring contentedly. All three can be found near the gate, waiting patiently for us to feed them. Misty is a purring machine, constantly motoring away when you talk to her.
Thank you again for sponsoring Misty and we hope that we can count on your continued support in the future.