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Friday, 14 December 2007

First "Future Farmers of Africa" course presented by CCF.

Cheetah Conservation Fund's Programme 'Future Farmers of Africa' presented its first Livestock Marketing Course from the 3rd to 7th of December. It focused on the ideal product, the economic viability of production and on environmentally sound and cheetah friendly production practices. 25 farmers learned to determine weight by girth measurement, which is required to calculate market related prices, to monitor weight gain and to evaluate performance. This is important to farmers without scales on their farms as many may not be able to afford them. Techniques learned in this course will help them get the most out of their livestock. While some predator losses are inevitable these courses help farmers minimize losses while maximizing returns. Stakeholders of Namibia's meat industry, namely the Meat Board of Namibia and the Meat Corporation of Namibia partnered up with CCF to make this event possible. The number of courses we can offer in a year is often limited by funding. We appreciate your help with this. (Photo: Farmers measure the weight of a slaughtered ox.)

From G√ľnther Roeber - Course Coordinator

Wednesday, 12 December 2007

17 Livestock Guarding Dogs adopted out

Over the past few weeks, seventeen Anatolian shepherd puppies were adopted out to farmers throughout Namibia. The pups were born in September, and monitored every day by staff and volunteers. Leading the puppy care was Canadian student, Krisztina Mosdossy. These wonderful Anatolians are bred here at CCF and raised with our goatherd. At eight weeks old they are adopted to qualified farmers to protect their goats and sheep against predators. The dogs bonding period ends around 16 weeks so it is important to place them with the herd they will be guarding at this age. This year, as a way to insure that the dogs get the best care possible, the farmers were required to attend an all day workshop held at CCF. The workshop included discussions on nutrition, preventative health, behaviour, and training. Farmers were given a starter bag of puppy food and encouraged to call us if they have questions. In early January 2008 staff will be visiting the various farms to see how the pups are acclimating to their new environments. Donations made through this site will help us to cover food, veterinary care, and training of farmers. As always keeping costs down for farmers keeps this program running successfully.

Friday, 7 December 2007

Introducing littleC!

In August, an orphan of two months was rescued by a farm worker after his dog treed him. littleC, now walking in Chewbaaka's paw prints, is becoming an amazing ambassador. He has grown considerably and is now living with two-year-old orphan, Kanini. He has been meeting school groups, farmers and visitors regularly and has the crowd listening to our message for the survival of his kind. littleC will soon be needing a sponsor, just like the other 40+ cheetahs residing at CCF. To sponsor a cheetah, visit our web site and click on Sponsor a Cheetah.

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Collared Cheetah Update

Unfortunately we have experienced a setback that shows the realties we are dealing with. Two of our collared cats have died. The first was shot by a farmer who didn't know whether it was a cheetah or leopard. This is the lack of knowledge that our education programs are meant to combat. On the positive side, upon visiting his farm to retrieve the collar we learned that he didn't know much about the cats and is interested in attending our farmer training courses. It is great to meet receptive farmers and to know some good will come out of it.

Sadly the second cat to die was Bob, a tailless male that we had seen in our camera surveys for the past few years. This year was the first to see him without his brother. While we do not know the fate of his brother we do know that Bob died of natural causes. He was found at a waterhole next to a warthog carcass. It appeared that the warthog injured him during the hunt.

Since then we have collared and released another male and await the fourth again. This magnificent dominant male weighing 54kgs received a complete medical workup that showed him to be healthy. We collected many samples and froze his sperm in our GRB. His release was a beautiful expression of the freedom and power of this most amazing champion of speed.

We continue to check the traps twice a day with the help of our Earthwatch volunteers.

Captive Cheetah Update

Leia, one of our non-releasable cheetahs, had a problem with her salivary gland recently. This is something that has occured at least twice before since I've been here (2 and a half years), and this time I think it's resolved for good. I noticed that when she hissed, the left side of her tongue looked bubbly; that was the same as before. we had a vet come out and anesthesize her. It turns out there was a miniscule hole in the gland and a piece of foreign debris got in and infected it. Our vet, Dr. Axel Hartmann from Otjiwarongo, took the infected gland out so that she won't be having anymore problems. She was on antibiotics for a few days and then returned back to her big pen. She's doing fine. Actually, we introduced another cat into that area, Shadow. Shadow is 9 years old and was at Bellebeno --CCF's 64-ha pen, but she was getting beat up too often so we decided to move her closer. That was actually the same reason why Leia is also in this pen with Blondi, Sandi, and Dusty. So Leia and Shadow are in the big pen now, and they seem to be ignoring each other for the most part.

We are currently caring for 45 cheetahs that cannot be released back into the wild. CCF cares for these orphaned, old or injured cheetahs that cannot be released back into the wild as they do not have the skills or physical capability to survive. Although CCF is not a welfare centre, it does accommodate these non-releasable cheetahs. If another approved home becomes available, CCF relocates these cheetahs to an alternate captive facility. However, many of these cheetahs are permanent residents of CCF, and fortunately we have many donors who help us fund their food and veterinary care through our Cheetah Sponsorship program. We can’t thank them enough for their help!

Happy Holidays to everyone!

Phil - Research Assistant and Cheetah Keeper