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Monday, 7 May 2007

Ron - April 2007

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

In mid-February, Ron, along with the rest of our resident cats, underwent his annual physical exam. As part of an ongoing study of gastritis (inflammation of the stomach lining) in captive cheetahs, several gastric biopsies were taking 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. He was also given his annual vaccines against rabies and other feline diseases and Frontline was applied to help control flies and ticks.

The last time Ron was weighed was in June 2006 when one of his molars was removed. At that time, he weighed 32.5 kilograms; he is now 39 kilograms (85.6 lbs)!

As you know, Ron is in his enclosure with his two sisters, Hermione and Harry. We would have separated him by now and put him with other males of his age, but unfortunately, we do not have any males his age. He also began to exhibit behaviors of sexually mature males. Therefore, he was given contraceptive hormones, which are used to suppress sperm production. As part of our male cheetah’s routine physical exams, we collect sperm, assess it’s quality, and hopefully freeze samples for future use. CCF staff was pleasantly surprised to discover that 19-month-old Ron had viable sperm. Most male cheetahs have viable sperm only after 20 months.

In the wild, Ron and his sisters would now be independent from their mother. In another few months, Ron would be forced out by the local dominant males to find a home area of his own. However, at CCF, thanks to his implant, Ron can stay with his sisters permanently. This way he can continue to harass his sisters at feeding time for their bones. A little growling from Harry will usually keep him off unless it is organ day and then he gets a bit more persistent. Despite his love for food, he is less easily persuaded to let go of the flag during the cheetah run when offered a piece of meat, and likes to pull on the rag as you try.

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

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