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Tuesday, 30 December 2008

Snakes, Puppies and Wild Cats

We are in the middle of


's rainy season and the recent rains have caused many changes. The most obvious change is that the trees have re-grown their leaves and the dull, dry grass has turned a beautiful green, totally transforming the landscape. The rains have also resulted in a dramatic increase in the number of creepy crawlies flying about! A single light left on in the evening will soon attract hundreds of lil critters including flying termites, moths, preying mantis' and flies. This has been good news for our resident geckos and bats who enjoy an insectivorous feast every night. This bug explosion may be annoying (especially when you are trying to make a cup of tea) but at least they are not life threatening, unfortunately the same can not be said of another type of animal that has become more prominent since the rains…snakes! In the space of a week 2 spitting cobras and 2 black mambas have been spotted on CCF property. I myself was witness to one of the black mambas, which I saw slithering across the road inside one of our cheetah pens. Fortunately I was inside a car at the time but coming face to face with one of the most dangerous snakes in the world still made my heart rate increase quite a bit! I watched the mamba slowly slither outside the enclosure and was very glad to see all of the 6 cats present at feeding time!

It has been an eventful week for our livestock guarding dog programme as two of our breeding Anatolians gave birth. Uschi gave birth on the 17th and her mother Tylee, just two days later on the 19th. Myself and our newest member of staff John Hurter were there for both deliveries. John has come to CCF with many years of dog training experience and is proving to be a great asset for the dog programme. On the day of his interview he brought one of our retired breeding dogs, Shades, back from the dead after he had a bad reaction to an anaesthetic procedure. Shades stopped breathing and his heart had stopped, but John new what to do and with the help of Lizzie successfully gave Shades CPR. Needless to say that didn't harm his chances of getting the job! Uschi's labour went well and all 9 of her puppies arrived into the world without any problems. However the same can not be said for Tylee who had a difficult time and needed help from myself and John delivering some of the pups and getting them to take that important first breath. She delivered 11 puppies but sadly three of those were still born. So we now have 17 puppies to take care of and I'm pleased to say that so far all of them are doing really well with both mums doing a great job.

The four wild cheetahs that were mentioned in a previous blog have had their work-ups and apart from being slightly underweight all are in good condition and have been fitted with an identification ear tag and transponder chip. The plan as I write this is to release them at the NamiBrand reserve once they are fully fit and healthy; I will keep you posted on what happens next.

I guess all that is left is for me to wish you all a very happy Christmas and a very happy new year!


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